I study the social quirks that make people people.


At the core of my research program is a fascination with an astounding feat of make-believe people engage in everyday: mind perception. Despite lacking direct access to the minds of others, people constantly piece together observed actions and inferred intentions to construct rich mental lives for those around them. This ability is what allows individuals to connect, groups to form, and societies to grow, but exactly how mind perception is accomplished has remained elusive.

My research explores how people use perceptual cues to infer the existence and contents of other minds. By drawing on social psychology, vision science, and neuroscience, my work sheds light on two major questions. First, how is perceptual information translated into social information? Second, does relying on perceptual cues inhibit our ability to understand the minds of others? 

I'm currently thinking about how social connections are altered when mediated through technology. You can learn more about my work by checking out some of my publications below.


Journal Articles:
Looser, C. E., & Wheatley, T. (2010). The tipping point of animacy. How, when, and where we perceive life in a face. Psychological Science21, 1854–1862. Abstract
Wheatley, T., Weinberg, A., Looser, C., Moran, T., & Hajcak, G. (2011). Mind perception: Real but not artificial faces sustain neural activity beyond the N170/VPPPLoS ONE6Abstract
Wheatley, T., Kang, O., Parkinson, C., & Looser, C. E. (2012). From Mind Perception to Mental Connection: Synchrony as a Mechanism for Social UnderstandingSocial and Personality Psychology Compass6, 589–606. Abstract
Looser, C. E., Guntupalli, J. S., & Wheatley, T. (2013). Multivoxel patterns in face-sensitive temporal regions reveal an encoding schema based on detecting life in a faceSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience8, 799–805. Abstract
Hackel, L. M., Looser, C. E., & Van Bavel, J. J. (2014). Group membership alters the threshold for mind perception: The role of social identity, collective identification, and intergroup threatJournal of Experimental Social Psychology52, 15–23. Abstract

Holland, E., Wolf, E. B., Looser, C., & Cuddy, A. (2016). Visual attention to powerful postures: People avert their gaze from nonverbal dominance displays. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 68, 60-67. 
Book Chapter:
Wheatley, T., & Looser, C. E. (2010). Prospective Codes Fulfilled: A Potential Neural Mechanism of WillConscious Will and Responsibility, 146–158.