Here's looking at you: eye gaze and collaborative recall

Celia B. Harris*, Penny Van Bergen, Sophia A. Harris, Nina McIlwain, Amael Arguel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In everyday life, we remember together often. Surprisingly, research reliably shows costs of collaboration. People remember less in groups than the same number of individuals remember separately. However, there is evidence that some groups are more successful than others, depending on factors such as group relationship and verbal communication strategies. To understand further the characteristics of more successful vs. less successful collaborative groups, we examined whether non-verbal eye gaze behaviour was associated with group outcomes. We used eye tracking glasses to measure how much collaborating dyads looked at each other during collaborative recall, and examined whether individual differences in eye- and face-directed gaze were associated with collaborative performance. Increased eye- and face-directed gaze was associated with higher collaborative recall performance, more explicit strategy use, more post-collaborative benefits, and increased memory overlap. However, it was also associated with pre-collaborative recall, indicating that gaze during collaboration may at least partially reflect pre-existing abilities. This research helps elucidate individual differences that underlie the outcomes of collaborative recall, and suggests that non-verbal communication differentiates more vs. less successful collaborative groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769–779
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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