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Jifan Zhou, Zaifeng Gao, Ning Tang, Mowei Shen; Social cues help us construct the causal perception of physical events. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):156. doi: 10.1167/12.9.156.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In simple mechanical events, our visual system is able to automatically infer the causal stucture of events and yield causal impressions. Physical cues (especially spatiotemporal features of the display) are found to be the key factors of the causal perception. Here we demonstrate that cues of a completely different domain – the social cues -- also impact the causal perception of physical events: the causally ambiguous events are more likely to be perceived as causal if the faces super-imposed on the objects change from neutral to fearful. This effect has following three major properties: (1) the effect is caused by the social information, because it disappears when the faces are inverted or when the expression-changes are unreasonable; (2) merely the change of basic physical features, such as color and shape, can not influence the causal perception; (3) the social cues are integrated in a temporal window different from physical cues; (4) the social cues impact the perception process rather than the decision process as the impact also appears in the causality-induced illusion. These findings suggest that the visual system also relies on social information to infer the causal structure of the physical world.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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