Seeing the world through others’ minds: Inferring social context from behaviour

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Peter Mitchell, University of Nottingham, is editor of the British Journal of Psychology. He has served as Chair of the Developmental Section of the British Psychological Society. Past research suggests individuals can infer information about a target’s emotional state and intentions from their facial expressions, a process known as mentalising. This extends to inferring the events that caused the facial reaction , an ability known as retrodictive mindreading. Here, Professor Mitchell discusses entering new territory by investigating whether or not people (perceivers) can guess a target’s social context by observing their response to stimuli.

Image courtesy of interviewee


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