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My primary interest is in the role of emotional responses in cognitive processing. We have previously found that stimuli in the world will sometimes be categorised (ie, grouped together and treated similarly) not because they are physically similar, but because they evoke the same emotional response in the perceiver. My current research explores the social consequences of emotional similarity. Under what circumstances do people consult their feelings to make decisions, and what sorts of decisions are they willing to make?
Cognitive fluency and social categorisation
In addition to the effects of affect on categorisation I also study the complementary issue: the effects of categorisation on affect. Initial studies have shown that stimuli that are easily categorised (because they are highly prototypical of their categories) tend to be judged as attractive, a finding with important implications for explanations of attractiveness in human faces. I am now examining the roles of cognitive fluency – the ease with which a stimulus can be perceived and processed - in the averageness-attractiveness relationship, and the consequences of changing a perceiver's subjective category structure on both ease of processing and liking for a target.
The effects of introspection and verbalization in social judgement
Previous research indicates that reasoning can actually impair performance in some domains. My research has been documenting these domains, which include behavioural predictions, decision making, memory for emotions and emotional expressions, and face recognition, and attempting to understand the mechanisms through which impairment occurs.
Halberstadt, J. B., Ruffman, T., Murray, J., Taumoepeau, M. & Ryan, M. Emotion perception explains age-related differences in the perception of social gaffes. Under review, Psychology and Aging.
Halberstadt, J. (2010). Intuition: Dumb but Lucky.Fortuitous affective cues and their disruption by analytic thought. Social Psychology and Personality Compass, 4, 64-76.
Halberstadt, J. B., Winkielman, P., Niedenthal, P., & Dalle, N.(2009). Emotional conception: How embodied emotion concepts guide perception and facial action. Psychological Science, 20, 1254-1261.
Halberstadt, J., Sherman, S. J., & Sherman, J. (2011). Why Barack Obama is black: A cognitive account of hypodescent. Psychological Science, 22 29-33.
Jackson, J. C., Halberstadt, J., Takezawa, M., Liew, K., Smith, K., Apicella, C., & Gray, K. (2023). Generalized morality culturally evolves as an adaptive heuristic in large social networks. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/pspa0000358
Davey, S., Halberstadt, J., & Bell, E. (2023). Where is an emotion? Using an emotional spatial cueing task to test for emotional localization following targeted visceroception. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12959
Halberstadt, J., Hughes, R., Jayasinha, G., & Bering, J. (2023, June-July). Motivational and cognitive explanations of postmortem consciousness. Poster session presented at the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP) General Meeting, Kraków, Poland.
Swan, T., Bering, J., Hughes, R., & Halberstadt, J. (2023). The role of implicit and explicit beliefs in grave-good practices: Evidence for intuitive afterlife reasoning. Cognitive Science, 47(4), e13263. doi: 10.1111/cogs.13263
Mohammed, H., Kumar, Jr, R., Bennani, H., Perry, J., Halberstadt, J. B., & Farella, M. (2023). Malocclusion severity and smile features: Is there an association? American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2022.10.023