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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The human face provides a wealth of information about others, including both situationally invariant information such as facial identity and social categories and situationally variable information such as others’ emotions and intentions. This informational richness makes the face central to our social interactions and cognitions. This chapter first reviews the current literature on the cognitive processes that underlie face perception and then turns to a review of both bottom-up effects (e.g., how facial structure influences attention and social inferences) and top-down effects (e.g., how beliefs, expectations, and values influence how faces are perceived, remembered, and interpreted) in face perception. In summary, not only do faces yield extensive information about others, but also how (and whether) that information is extracted, encoded, and processed is subject to perceivers’ motives and expectations about others.

Keywords: social cognition, face perception, stereotyping, facial expressions of emotion, face recognition

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