Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Fachrichtung 4.7 Universität des Saarlandes

Dr. Ross Macdonald

Postdoctoral Researcher


  • M2CI - Cluster of Excellence
  • Saarland University
  • Department of Computational Linguistics
  • Building C7.4, Room 2.04
  • 66123 Saarbrücken
  • Germany
  • Tel: +49 681 302 70042
  • e-mail: rossm (AT)

  • I work in Dr. Maria Staudte's group and am funded by the MMCI Cluster of Excellence (Group: "Embodied Spoken Interaction")

    Research Interests

      My research focuses broadly on social attention and communication. I am interested in how the social world affects our attention and perceptions, and how it influences the way in which we communicate. I have primarily used social gaze cues to investigate these issues. Much of the previous research on gaze-cueing has used artificial stimuli in isolation. While studies using these methods have provided important insights into social and visual attention, they can fail to consider the effect of higher level factors, such as social context and language, on the way we orient to and follow gaze cues. For this reason, throughout my research I have investigated the effect of social context and language on gaze cue utilisation in highly naturalistic environments and then used the findings to inform the design of more controlled, less-ecologically valid paradigms. Specifically, I have used these diverse experimental settings to investigate how the gaze-cue use varies as language changes. I found that gaze cues are used flexibly and that gaze cue use is sensitive to the type of referring expression (spatial vs. featural) used in concurrent spoken language, as well as the relative informativeness of this language. In addition I have investigated the effects that an individual's social perceptions of a collaborator have on the way in which they use information provided by the collaborator's eyes: People are more likely to look at someone providing instructions if they perceive them as a leader, compared to an equal. In the MMCI, I am currently investigating the influence of the perceived intentions of a gazer on how we make use of their cues during social interactions.


    • Doctor of Philosophy, Psychology
    • University of Dundee, UK
    • 2011 - 2014

    • Master of Science (with Distinction), Eye Movements and Cognition
    • University of Dundee, UK
    • 2010 - 2011

    • Bachelor of Science (with First Class Honours), Psychology
    • University of Dundee, UK
    • 2007 - 2010