As we enter a room full of people, we instantly have a number of social perceptions. We have an automatic perception of others as subjective agents with their own points of view, thoughts, and goals, and we can quickly interpret minimal visual information to infer that something is animate. This book explores the perceptual and cognitive processes that allow humans to perceive and understand this social information quickly and apparently effortlessly. Top researchers in fields ranging from developmental psychology to vision science consider the perception of biological and animate motion, inferences based on this motion, and the early development of these abilities.
These innovative contributions reflect a recent renewal of interest in the attribution of agency and the understanding of goal-directed behavior, which has been accompanied by a rapid increase in empirical discoveries enabled by such new experimental techniques as brain imaging. The research presented in Social Perception suggests that an intuitive understanding of others is an integral part of human psychology, develops early, relies on a network of brain regions, and may be compromised in autism.
Contributors: Dare Baldwin, Lara Bardi, H. Clark Barrett, Erin Cannon, You-jung Choi, Willem E. Frankenhuis, Tao Gao, Emily D. Grossman, Antonia Hamilton, Petra Hauf, Valerie A. Kuhlmeier, Jeff Loucks, Scott A. Love, Yuyan Luo, Elena Mascalzoni, Phil McAleer, Richard Ramsey, Lucia Regolin, M.D. Rutherford, Kara Sage, Brian J. Scholl, Maggie Shiffrar, Francesca Simion, Jessica Sommerville, James P. Thomas, Nikolaus Troje, Amanda Woodward.