A cost-benefit analysis was used to investigate whether reflexive effects in a spatial cueing task are stronger when target location is cued by another person's gaze rather than arrows because the relative contribution of attentional shifts versus automatic priming is greater in the case of gaze cues. Across four experiments, nonpredictive arrows triggered rapid facilitatory, inhibition-less priming that peaked at 300-500ms SOA and then died away; across three experiments, nonpredictive gaze cues triggered facilitation-plus-costs at SOAs of 300-400ms or more, suggesting that gaze cues trigger stronger (and longer) attentional effects. At 200 ms SOA, gaze cues triggered facilitation-without-cost, consistent with the view that facilitatory effects accrue more rapidly due to earlier automatic priming, whereas costs are manifest slightly later, when attentional effects come online. There was some evidence that nonpredictive gaze cues trigger long-lasting congruency effects so long as observers maintain their preparedness to respond. Findings support the view that gaze is a unique symbolic directional cue.