September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Social Inclusion and the Perception of Animacy in a Face
Author Affiliations
  • Joseph Brandenburg
    Department of Psychology, Liberal Arts College, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Daniel Albohn
    Department of Psychology, Liberal Arts College, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Troy Steiner
    Department of Psychology, Liberal Arts College, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Regniald Adams, Jr.
    Department of Psychology, Liberal Arts College, The Pennsylvania State University
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 838. doi:10.1167/17.10.838
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      Joseph Brandenburg, Daniel Albohn, Troy Steiner, Regniald Adams, Jr.; Social Inclusion and the Perception of Animacy in a Face. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):838. doi: 10.1167/17.10.838.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Introduction: Previous work has reported the breaking point for perceiving animacy in a doll face morphed with a human face is around 70% on the continuum toward being more doll like (Looser & Wheatley 2010). Other work has shown that social rejection, manipulated via the classic cyberball task (Hartgenrink et al., 2015) influences how we perceive faces (Berstein et al., 2010). Herein, we combined these techniques to examine whether the experience of social rejection/inclusion influences the perception of animacy in a face. We predicted that social rejection would make participants sensitive to humanness in the face, thereby lowering the threshold more for when doll-like features are perceived as life like. Methods: Participants (N = 65) completed the cyberball task, and were randomly assigned to the inclusion versus exclusion condition. A control group (N = 41) completed this same task without going through the cyberball task. Next, they were given arrays of 50 morphed faces varying in 2% increments linearly from a human to a doll face. Their instructions were to choose the point at which the face began to appear less human than doll like. Results: Contrary to our predictions, social rejection did not change perceptions of animacy when compared to the control group. We did find that social inclusion significantly shifted the threshold of perceiving animacy in a face to later in the continuum (i.e., more doll like), both compared to the control t(1, 19) = 39.04, p < .001) and social exclusion group t(1, 19) = -2.86 p < .007). Critically, no other studies using the cyberball task to our knowledge have reported effects due to the social inclusion. Conclusion: This work suggests social inclusion can have a meaningful influence on face perception, in this case on the perception of animacy in the human face.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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