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Title: Social binding : processing of social interactions in visual search, working memory and longer-term memory
Author: Vestner, Tim
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 5520
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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The binding of features into perceptual wholes is a well-established phenomenon, which has previously only been studied in the context of early vision and low-level features, such as color or proximity. This thesis investigates the hypothesis that a similar binding process, based on higher level information, could bind people into interacting groups, facilitating faster processing and enhanced memory of social situations. To investigate this possibility, a series of different experimental approaches explores grouping effects in displays involving interacting people. Experiments 1 & 2 use a visual search task and demonstrate more rapid processing for interacting (versus non-interacting) pairs in an odd-quadrant paradigm. Experiments 3 & 4, using a spatial judgment task, show that interacting individuals are remembered as physically closer than non-interacting individuals while retrieval times are decreased for interacting pairs. Experiments 5, 6 & 7 show that memory retention of group-relevant and irrelevant features is enhanced when recalling interacting partners in a surprise memory task. But such retrieval is disrupted when features are misattributed between interacting partners. Finally, Experiments 8, 9 & 10 further investigate the involvement of higher level cognitive processes in these effects. The observed results are consistent with the social binding hypothesis, and alternative explanations based on low level perceptual features and attentional cueing effects are ruled out. This thesis concludes that automatic mid-level grouping processes bind individuals into groups on the basis of their perceived interaction. Such Social Binding could provide the basis for more sophisticated social processing. Identifying the automatic encoding of social interactions in visual search, distortions of spatial working memory, and facilitated retrieval of object properties from longer-term memory, opens new approaches to studying social cognition with possible practical applications.
Supervisor: Tipper, Steven ; Rueschemeyer, Shirley-Ann Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available