Daum. M., & Gredebäck., G. (2011) Spatial cuing by referential human gestures, arrows, and mechanical devices International Journal of Mind, Brain and Cognition, 2, 5-18.

In the present study we investigated the flexibility of adults’ attention triggered by directional human or non-human cues. Using a standard Posner paradigm, adult participants were presented with non-predictive directional human gestures (pointing and grasping hand) and non- human cues (arrow and grasping mechanical claw). Each cue was followed by a target located either in the cued (congruent) location or in the opposite, non-cued (incongruent) location. Results show that all directional cues caused a priming effect; reaction times were faster when the target appeared in the congruent location than when it appeared in the incongruent location. However, this priming effect differed between cues; human gestures and arrows were processed faster than mechanical claws, indicated by a reliable priming effect at shorter SOAs. This finding illustrates that human attention can be driven in a very flexible way, however, with a primacy for functional and frequent stimuli.