UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Person perception informs understanding of cognition during visual search Brennan, Allison Anne


Does person perception – the impressions we form from watching others’ behavior – hold clues to the mental states of people engaged in cognitive tasks? We investigate this with a two-phase method: in Phase 1 participants search on a computer screen (Experiment 1) or in an office (Experiment 2); in Phase 2 other participants rate their video-recorded behavior. We find ratings are sensitive to stable traits (search ability), temporary states (cognitive strategy), and environment (task difficulty). We also find that the visible behaviors critical to success vary between settings (e.g., eye movements are important in search on computer screens; head movements for search in an office). Positive emotions are linked to search success in both settings. These findings demonstrate that person perception can inform cognition beyond traditional measures of performance, and as such, offer great potential for studying cognition in natural settings with measures that are both rich and relatively unobtrusive.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International