Increased thinking about one's self has been proposed to widen the gaze cone, that is, the range of gaze deviations that an observer judges as looking directly at them (eye contact). This study investigated the effects of a self-referential thinking manipulation and demographic factors on the gaze cone. In a preregistered experiment (N = 200), the self-referential thinking manipulation, as compared to a control manipulation, did not influence the gaze cone, or the use of first-person pronouns in a manipulation check measuring self-referential processing. This may indicate a failure of the manipulation and participants’ lack of effort. However, participants’ age was significantly correlated with both measures: older people had wider gaze cones and used more self-referring pronouns. A second experiment (N = 300) further examined the effect of the manipulation and demographic factors on self-referential processing, and the results were replicated. These findings may reflect age-related self-reference and positivity effects.
- Jufo-taso 2