Research Interests

Thinking about the social world is complicated. We need to translate endless data points from our experiences into a coherent narrative, which will ultimately help us behave efficiently in the social world. Notably, research shows that there is no single dedicated “social cognition faculty” in the brain that processes all social information. Rather, our thinking about the social world relies on multiple “atomic” information processing systems. What are these information-processing building blocks, and how do they contribute to our social cognition?  My research focuses on two such systems: visual and verbal. Using a combination of laboratory experiments, Internet surveys and neuroimaging, I explore the differences and relationship between visual and verbal processing. I show that representational modes distinctly affect and are affected by such factors as prospection, interpersonal communication, moral judgment, self-regulation, and emotional experiences. This research provides strong evidence that social psychology should consider not only what people think about, but also how they think about it.
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