Coming Soon

28 Mar


When bodies become objects and objects come to live

Humans are social beings. They quickly detect other agents such as people or animals, and preferentially attend to them. Identifying agents would have been consequential in evolutionary environments, as rapid detection of predators would have been essential to survival. The human visual system has specialized mechanisms for social perception and processes social stimuli, such as faces and bodies, differently than inanimate objects. My research focuses on which cues lead our visual system to perceive stimuli as animate or inanimate. In some contexts, bodies are perceptually objectified – processed by the visual system as objects rather than social stimuli. Conversely, even simple geometric shapes on a computer screen can be spontaneously seen as animate and goal-directed based on how they move. My talk will cover three of the studies that I have conducted throughout my time here at McMaster and I will discuss how allocation of attention and attentional shifts can drastically impact social perception.


Ruth Hofrichter is in her final year of her PhD in the Rutherford Lab. Her research focuses on Social perception and Animacy detection in adults and children. She completed her undergraduate studies at St. Francis Xavier University.

Ruth Hofrichter
McMaster University

Host: Mel Rutherford
4 Apr



Host: Bruce Milliken

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1