The Neuroscience of Social Vision

Ryan M. Stolier, Jonathan B. Freeman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Through mere visual cues, humans readily extract a variety of information about other people. In addition to bottom-up visual cues, our social perceptions are dynamically shaped by a number of top-down social factors, including stereotypes, person knowledge, motives, emotional states, and social context. In an effort to understand such biased visual perceptions of other people, social neuroscientists and researchers across the cognitive, neural, and vision sciences more broadly have come together to form an interdisciplinary "social vision" approach. In this chapter, we first outline such an approach and apply it to the functional neuroanatomy of our visually based social perception processes: identity recognition, social categorization, emotion recognition, and trait attribution. We then discuss several domains in which higher-order social factors flexibly constrain these lower-level perceptual processes. Finally, we describe current interdisciplinary perspectives on the underlying mechanisms of social vision, as well as its purpose and origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroimaging Personality, Social Cognition, and Character
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780128009352
StatePublished - 2016


  • Feedback
  • Person perception
  • Social neuroscience
  • Social vision
  • Ventral visual stream

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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