Social Vision

The concept of Social Vision stems from our lab’s and collaborators’ view that there is a substantial field where vision and social science overlap. Social communication in everyday exchange is predominantly nonverbal, transmitted and received largely via the visual modality. Over a third of the human brain is dedicated to visual processes, more than all other sensory modalities combined. This anatomical fact reflects in large part the central importance vision plays in both establishing and navigating us through our social worlds. This is further underscored by the fact that humans are inherently communal, reliant in almost every respect upon others for survival. Thus, we have become highly dependent on an intricate system of nonverbal cues to maintain social exchange and cohesion, often unaware of their impact as we use them. As a result we are able to "see" with relative ease others' mental and emotional states, desires and intentions. What we see informs our first impressions and guides our ongoing interactions. These impressions, in turn, influence the very way we process even low-level visual information. It is in this reciprocal exchange that social and visual perception are wedded and from which future cross-disciplinary exchange will hopefully offer new and fruitful insights.

Click below for more information on three lines of research we conduct related to to social vision.