Kelsey Neuenswander – Social Cognitive Scientist
My research unites theory from social psychology, cognitive science, and communication to answer questions pertaining to the following topics:
Psychological research has long focused on person perception, or the perception of individuals in isolation. However, our daily lives are dominated by groups, teams, and collectives. For this reason, I am particularly interested in people perception, or the perception of ensembles. Some current questions of interest include: Can we rapidly and accurately ascertain group composition (e.g., the ratio of men to women in a group) from voices alone? Does group composition affect group evaluations (e.g., are groups with more men perceived as more threatening)? How accurate are these evaluations in the real-world (e.g., do we accurately detect threat, or lack thereof, in protests/demonstrations)?
Sensory adaptation refers to the process by which recent experience biases current perceptions. Research shows that adaptation to certain visual features causes those features to appear normative and consequently more favorable. However, little work has looked at auditory adaptation and its effects. Does auditory adaptation similarly influence evaluative judgements? Is there a way to harness visual and auditory adaptation to reduce prejudice among marginalized groups?
With artificial intelligence on the rise, it is necessary to understand how individuals perceive nonsocial entities through a social lens. How and why do we assign human social categories (e.g., gender) to AI? How does this influence fundamental impressions of perception (e.g., warmth, competence, discomfort)? How can developers design AI that is effective while simultaneously challenging harmful stereotypes?