Human-Monkey Gaze Correlations Reveal Convergent and Divergent Patterns of Movie Viewing

Stephen V. Shepherd, Shawn A. Steckenfinger, Uri Hasson, Asif A. Ghazanfar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The neuroanatomical organization of the visual system is largely similar across primate species [1, 2], predicting similar visual behaviors and perceptions. Although responses to trial-by-trial presentation of static images suggest that primates share visual orienting strategies [3-8], these reduced stimuli fail to capture key elements of the naturalistic, dynamic visual world in which we evolved [9, 10]. Here, we compared the gaze behavior of humans and macaques when they viewed three different 3-minute movie clips. We found significant intersubject and interspecies gaze correlations, suggesting that both species attend a common set of events in each scene. Comparing human and monkey gaze behavior with a computational saliency model revealed that interspecies gaze correlations were driven by biologically relevant social stimuli overlooked by low-level saliency models. Additionally, humans, but not monkeys, tended to gaze toward the targets of viewed individual's actions or gaze. Together, these data suggest that human and monkey gaze behavior comprises converging and diverging informational strategies, driven by both scene content and context; they are not fully described by simple low-level visual models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 13 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences




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