Springer Nature
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How trait impressions of faces shape subsequent mental state inferences [Registered Report Stage 1 Protocol]

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-29, 09:24 authored by Chujun Lin, Umit Keles, Mark A. Thornton, Ralph Adolphs


People form impressions of one another in a split second from faces: some look warm or competent, others untrustworthy or aggressive. However, people also infer others’ momentary mental states based on context. For instance, people would infer that somebody feels encouraged when receiving constructive feedback, or impatient when driving behind a slow driver. How do trait judgments of faces influence these context-based mental state inferences? We will ask participants to infer the mental states of unfamiliar people, identified by their neutral faces,  under specific contexts. To increase generalizability, we representatively sample all stimuli from inclusive sets using computational methods. We test four hypotheses: that trait impressions of faces (1) are correlated with subsequent mental state inferences in a range of contexts, (2) alter the dimensional space that underlies mental state inferences, (3) are associated with specific mental state dimensions in this space, and (4) causally influence mental state inferences. 


Stage 1 Registered Report Protocol

Stage 1 Registered Report Supplementary Information 


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - 2P50 MH094258

NSF | Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences | Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (Behavioral & Cognitive Sciences) - BCS-1840756


Date of in-principle acceptance