Date: Thursday 30th March
Room: College Building C126
Dr Andrew Dunn (Nottingham Trent University)
'Cold Words and Rich Comments: Environmental Primes and Person Perception'
Humans are categorical creatures who readily and rapidly make judgements of others based on the way they look or sound. These judgements can be remarkably accurate or wildly off the mark. Irrespective, they can have a significant impact on our behaviour and of those being judged. Here we will explore unpublished data from several experiments looking at the effects of context information (race, socio-economic status and perceived pathogen threat) on judgements of perceived criminal culpability, attractiveness and health. I will show that subtle changes in contextual information have a nuanced but significant impact on how we perceive and judge others. I will argue that there is no such thing as a context free experiment because we are inherently sensitive to our environment and that it leads us to naturally categorise the world with unexpected consequences. Accordingly we should be mindful of such effects as Psychologists but also as citizens of a democratic industrialised society, under threat from an artificially heightened fear of others.
Dr Andrew Dunn is a senior lecturer in Psychology and an experimental psychologist with interests in the functional mechanisms of perception, attention, memory, motor action, and the application of evolutionary theory and methods to understanding human behaviour.