A Bayesian approach to person perception
406 - 413
Consciousness and Cognition
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© 2015 Elsevier Inc. Here we propose a Bayesian approach to person perception, outlining the theoretical position and a methodological framework for testing the predictions experimentally. We use the term person perception to refer not only to the perception of others' personal attributes such as age and sex but also to the perception of social signals such as direction of gaze and emotional expression. The Bayesian approach provides a formal description of the way in which our perception combines current sensory evidence with prior expectations about the structure of the environment. Such expectations can lead to unconscious biases in our perception that are particularly evident when sensory evidence is uncertain. We illustrate the ideas with reference to our recent studies on gaze perception which show that people have a bias to perceive the gaze of others as directed towards themselves. We also describe a potential application to the study of the perception of a person's sex, in which a bias towards perceiving males is typically observed.
- Psychology