Research Topic

Reading faces and bodies: behavioural and neural processes underlying the understanding of, and interaction with, others

About this Research Topic

The ability of individuals to understand other people as beings who, like themselves, have intentional and mental states is fundamental to adapt to, and navigate in our social world. To this end, our perceptual and neural systems have evolved to extract useful information from faces and moving bodies of other ...

The ability of individuals to understand other people as beings who, like themselves, have intentional and mental states is fundamental to adapt to, and navigate in our social world. To this end, our perceptual and neural systems have evolved to extract useful information from faces and moving bodies of other humans to allow reciprocal social interactions and communication.


A central source of socially meaningful cues is the face and the eye gaze, which can be visually analyzed to understand a person's emotions, focus of attention, intentions, beliefs, and desires. Moreover, facial cues convey information about that person's social status, approachability, age, gender. All of this body of information, although complex, is easily detected and used by people to go beyond a person's facial appearance to make inferences about personal dispositions and personality traits, such as trustworthiness and likeability.


However, not only facial cues provide crucial information regarding a person's internal state which can facilitate or prevent social interaction. In every-day situations, other sources of visual input (such as the communicator’s body language or ‘‘bodily kinematics’’) are equally important, especially when facial signals are unavailable to the observer. For example, it has been demonstrated that biological motion (i.e., a point light motion display) is sufficient for the perception of emotions, gender and internal states. Thus, if on the one hand faces and eye gaze are universally recognized as the most important key element for understanding others, on the other hand a growing body of evidence shows that body motion cues are also a core component of person perception and concur to make person first impression.


Research is beginning to uncover the manner in which facial and body cues are processed, but very little is known about how they interact with each other, and with social, ecological and contextual factors (such as for example social identification and group membership) to form a unified representation that can guide our perceptions and responses to other people. There is not a full theoretical account of how we extract, integrate, and interpret the various social signals from a visual image. Nevetheless, researchers are now beginning to investigate the cognitive, neural and social aspects of face, gaze, and body cues processing together. The questions they ask include: How does the brain process and integrate social information from different inputs? How may body motion cues contribute to social understanding in typical and atypical development? How do personality inferences derived from perceptual appearance or previous social interactions bias cognitive processes involved in the understanding of others (e.g., joint and shared attention)?


The aim of this Research Topic is to offer an interdisciplinary forum for researchers interested in the interplay of face, eye gaze, and body perception in the understanding of others, with an emphasis on behavioural and neural processing. We welcome original research and review papers from cognitive, neuroscience and social psychology perspectives, allowing building an up-to-date picture of advances in this fascinating field.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Recent Articles

Loading..

About Frontiers Research Topics

With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..
Loading..

total views article views article downloads topic views

}
 
Top countries
Top referring sites
Loading..

Comments

Loading..

Add a comment

Add comment
Back to top