Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World-first research to explain why actions speak louder than words

Date:
August 8, 2013
Source:
University of Lincoln
Summary:
An innovative series of experiments could help to unlock the mysteries of how the brain makes sense of the hustle and bustle of human activity we see around us every day.

An innovative series of experiments could help to unlock the mysteries of how the brain makes sense of the hustle and bustle of human activity we see around us every day.

Related Articles


Very little is known about the psychological processes which enable us to pick out a potential mugger from a busy street or to spot an old friend approaching us across a crowded room. Such judgements of social intention, which we make countless times each day, enable us to respond in appropriate ways to the dynamic and complex world around us.

George Mather, Professor of Vision Science at the University of Lincoln, UK, and one of the world's foremost experts on human visual perception, will lead a new research project investigating the mechanisms behind this crucial ability to perceive and interpret the intentions of other people from the way they move.

Numerous experiments have explored the way we use visual signals to extract meaning from our environment, but most have been based on static images, such as photos of different facial expressions. Other studies into the perception of moving images have relied on very simple animated scenes, like moving patterns of regularly-spaced lines or random dots, devoid of the richness and nuances of scenes from the 'real world'.

There remains limited scientific understanding of how the human visual system makes sense of the flurry of movement we see around us in modern societies: for example, whether a person approaching us is sprinting or strolling, whether that means they are angry or calm, and how we should react in response.

Professor Mather aims to bridge this gap in the academic literature through a series of world-first experiments. He has been awarded a grant of 287,000 by the UK's Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) for a three-year study. The aim is to shed new light on the process by which the human visual system identifies and decodes 'dynamic cues of social intention'.

Professor Mather said: "It's true that actions speak louder than words. Perception of movement is fundamental to many of our everyday social interactions. But simply judging speed is in itself a very complex task. When you see somebody walking across your field of view, how do you know how fast they are going? That information can be very useful because it might tell you something about their intentions but it's surprisingly difficult to make an accurate judgement. A basic problem is that the further away a moving object is, the slower it moves in the image received by the eye. We don't really understand at the moment how the human visual system is able to compensate for different viewing conditions."

Motion perception has been a consistent theme of Professor Mather's research career. In previous studies he has shown that the brain can deduce socially meaningful information from very simple depictions of human movement, such as collections of dots denoting the major joints of the body.

The research in this latest project will answer fundamental questions about how the brain combines 'low-level' information about image motion with 'high level' knowledge of the social world to make meaningful assessments of the speed and nature of human movements.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Lincoln. "World-first research to explain why actions speak louder than words." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808123723.htm>.
University of Lincoln. (2013, August 8). World-first research to explain why actions speak louder than words. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808123723.htm
University of Lincoln. "World-first research to explain why actions speak louder than words." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808123723.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins