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CABIN Brownbag – Dr. Jon Freeman “More than meets the eye: Split-second social perception”

Date: Time: 12:30 pm–1:30 pm
Center for Brain, Biology & Behavior Room: B60
Contact: Jessica Cronin, 402-472-0168, jcronin4@unl.edu
Initial social perceptions are often thought to reflect direct read-outs of facial features. Our recent research suggests that they instead emerge from an automatic yet gradual process of negotiation between the perceptual cues inherent to a person (e.g., facial cues) and top-down social cognitive processes harbored within perceivers. Integrative evidence from functional neuroimaging, computational modeling, and the real-time behavioral technique of mouse-tracking will be discussed. This work shows that perceptions of a face’s gender, race, emotion, and even trait inferences (e.g., trustworthiness) are fundamentally shaped by context and one’s own stereotypes, prior knowledge, and intergroup experiences. Together, this work suggests that split-second social perceptions are malleable and shaped by context and higher-order social cognition. In turn, such malleability can create biases during initial perceptions that shape real-world behavior and may serve as a foundation for certain forms of bias.

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