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Published April 11, 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

Data-driven approaches in the investigation of social perception


The complexity of social perception poses a challenge to traditional approaches to understand its psychological and neurobiological underpinnings. Data-driven methods are particularly well suited to tackling the often high-dimensional nature of stimulus spaces and of neural representations that characterize social perception. Such methods are more exploratory, capitalize on rich and large datasets, and attempt to discover patterns often without strict hypothesis testing. We present four case studies here: behavioural studies on face judgements, two neuroimaging studies of movies, and eyetracking studies in autism. We conclude with suggestions for particular topics that seem ripe for data-driven approaches, as well as caveats and limitations.

Additional Information

© 2016 The Author(s). Published by the Royal Society. Accepted: 25 January 2016; Published 11 April 2016. One contribution of 15 to a theme issue 'Attending to and neglecting people. L.N. is supported by The Academy of Finland (MIND program grant 265917) and European Research Council (starting grant no. 313000). R.A. is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (Conte Center grant). We thank Riitta Hari, local students in Finland, and the Attention and Performance series board for helping organize the conference on which this paper is based. Authors' contributions. All authors contributed equally. We have no competing interests.

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