The human face as a dynamic tool for social communication

Jack, R. E. and Schyns, P. G. (2015) The human face as a dynamic tool for social communication. Current Biology, 25(14), R621-R634. (doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.052) (PMID:26196493)

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As a highly social species, humans frequently exchange social information to support almost all facets of life. One of the richest and most powerful tools in social communication is the face, from which observers can quickly and easily make a number of inferences — about identity, gender, sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical health, attractiveness, emotional state, personality traits, pain or physical pleasure, deception, and even social status. With the advent of the digital economy, increasing globalization and cultural integration, understanding precisely which face information supports social communication and which produces misunderstanding is central to the evolving needs of modern society (for example, in the design of socially interactive digital avatars and companion robots). Doing so is challenging, however, because the face can be thought of as comprising a high-dimensional, dynamic information space, and this impacts cognitive science and neuroimaging, and their broader applications in the digital economy. New opportunities to address this challenge are arising from the development of new methods and technologies, coupled with the emergence of a modern scientific culture that embraces cross-disciplinary approaches. Here, we briefly review one such approach that combines state-of-the-art computer graphics, psychophysics and vision science, cultural psychology and social cognition, and highlight the main knowledge advances it has generated. In the light of current developments, we provide a vision of the future directions in the field of human facial communication within and across cultures.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schyns, Professor Philippe and Jack, Professor Rachael
Authors: Jack, R. E., and Schyns, P. G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Current Biology
Publisher:Elsevier Inc.
ISSN (Online):1879-0445
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Current Biology 25(14):R621-R634
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
590701Mapping the Cultural Landscape of Emotions for Social InteractionRachael JackEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K001973/1S&E PSY - PSYCHOLOGY
591971DADIOS (Data-driven Analysis of the Dynamics of Information-acquisition Over time during Social judgement)Philippe SchynsEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K00607X/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING
595751Mapping Cultural Differences in Facial Expressions of Emotion.Rachael JackBritish Academy (BRIT-ACAD)SG113332PSY - PSYCHOLOGY