Social Cognition and Communication
We are a peculiarly social species. Maintaining large and cooperative social groups allowed us to outcompete the larger and stronger Neanderthals. Maintaining these communities requires us to understand the minds of others and ensure that we ourselves are understood.
The Social Cognition and Communication Research Group investigates how human beings understand each others’ minds, how we use speech, gesture, and facial expressions to communicate, and how together this allows us to influence the minds of others.
Current research projects
- Exploring social cognition in virtual reality (Dr Liam Cross and Dr Gray Atherton)
- Are emoji emotional? (Dr Linda Kaye)
- The potential impact of extra-legal factors on jury decision making (Dr Joyce Humphries)
- The impact of loneliness on processing social cues (Dr Felicity Wolohan)
- A community-based approach to making behaviour more sustainable: uncovering implicit attitudes to climate change and assessing their significance for climate action. (Prof Geoff Beattie & Dr Laura McGuire).
- A multimodal approach to understanding lies and deceit in various real-world contexts: the implications for effective lie detection (Prof Geoff Beattie)
- The implicit association between fonts and expressive qualities (Dr Andrea Piovesan)
- Online health messaging- the role of personality traits and social media behaviours (Dr Linda Kaye, Dr Helen Wall & Dr Lauren McGale)
Are emoji emotional?
Dr Linda Kaye’s work is exploring the emotional processing of emoji, and how this corresponds to language. Specifically, it is establishing the extent to which emoji are actually processed emotionally.Find out more Live well online
VR, Social Synchrony and Anthromorphism
Dr Gray Atherton and Dr Liam Cross have recently developed applications that measure visual perspective-taking towards given agents in the virtual world. This has allowed for testing the effects of social synchrony on the ability to take the perspective of other agents.
Rethinking Body Language
Professor Geoff Beattie’s research on multimodal communication has shown that spontaneous iconic gestures are an integral part of speaking and convey core parts of the underlying semantic message.Understanding human interaction to help tackle societal issues
- Professor Geoff Beattie’s novel The Body’s Little Secrets (Gibson Square) was reviewed in Semiotica in 2019 by Professor Marcel Danesi from the University of Toronto.
- The Times Education Supplement (TES): What body language can do to aide learning
- The Conversation: Marching for equality: research shows that walking in step can bring people closer together– by Dr Liam Cross
- The Conversation: You can tell more about a person from their Facebook page than by actually meeting them– by Dr Linda Kaye & Dr Helen Wall
- The Conversation: What your emojis say about you– by Dr Linda Kaye, Dr Helen Wall & Dr Stephanie Malone
- The Conversation: The psychology behind Trump’s awkward handshake … and how to beat him at his own game– by Professor Geoff Beattie
- The Conversation: How Donald Trump bullies with his body language– by Professor Geoff Beattie
- The Conversation: Why you’re better at whistling than singing– by Dr Michel Belyk
- The Conversation: What psychology can tell us about why some people don’t wear masks – and how to change their minds– by Dr Helen Wall, Dr Alex Balani and Dr Derek Larkin
- The Conversation: Coronavirus shows how to get people to act on climate change – here’s the psychology– by Professor Geoff Beattie and Dr Laura McGuire
- The Conversation: Body language books get it wrong: the truth about reading nonverbal cues– by Professor Geoff Beattie
- The Conversation: Joe Biden: slips of the tongue can project our own hidden thoughts, fears and anxieties– by Professor Geoff Beattie
There are various ways you can get involved in our Social Cognition and Communication research.