Highlights

In the Media

Check out the recent media coverage of our research on masks!

New research shows masks make it more difficult to read emotions from faces. Written interview for the popular psychology website PsyPost.  

Face masks impair nonverbal communication between individuals. Written interview with the McGill Newsroom, featured on the McGill University homepage. 

Research study featured on the McGill Psychology Department main website, Facebook, and Twitter feeds, as the McGill Newsroom

How wearing a mask has altered the communication of emotions (Comment le port du masque a altéré la communication des émotions). Radio interview with Radio Canada for the segment “In the Mosaic” (Dans la Mosaique).

What emotions are hidden by the mask? (Quelle émotions sont cachées par le masque?). Radio interview with Radio Canada for the segment “It’s Never the Same” (C’est Jamais Pareil).

Midweek radio show – Face masks and emotion recognition. Radio interview with CKCU-FM for the Midweek show.

Reddit thread discussing our work and how Masks impair the recognition of six basic facial expressions, according to new research. The findings suggests that visual information from lower portions of the face play an important role in understanding facial expressions

Check out the recent media coverage of our research on the social value of faces!

Check out the laboratory's newest publication which was featured in a Kudos media article titled: Faces may not have the inherent "social" value we assume

Highlights 2021-22

Vision Sciences Society (VSS & V-VSS) Conference - May/June 2022

Dr. Jelena Ristic, Dr. Sarah McCrackin, Dr. Effie Pereira, Florence Mayrand, and Victoria Fratino attended the 2022 Conference! Dr. Jelena Ristic presented a poster on face occlusion and communication (first photo). Dr. Sarah McCrackin presented a poster on eye occlusion and emotions (second photo). Dr. Effie Pereira presented a poster on faces and attention (third photo). Florence Mayrand presented a poster on gaze following (fourth photo). Victoria Fratino presented a poster on the perceptual unity of social groups (fifth photo)

Undergraduate Student Conference 

   

   

Victoria Fratino (top left), Leila Rafai (top right), Nada Khalil (middle left), Yilin Guo (middle right), India Audet (bottom left), & Kylie Chow (bottom right) presenting at McGill's Annual Undergraduate Psychology Conference!

 

In the spotlight: Face masks impair recognition of emotions!

Check out the interview here! 

Listen to our French radio segment here!

Listen to our English radio segment here!

Recent research from ASC group shows that wearing face masks impairs human social communication (McCrackin, S.D., Capozzi, F., Mayrand, F., Ristic, J. (2022). Face Masks Impair Basic Emotion Recognition. Social Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000470). 

The social landscape underwent rapid change with the worldwide onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. One of the biggest changes was a widespread adoption of face masks. While wearing a mask is critical in preventing the spread of covid, it’s important that we understand the impact masks can have on social interactions. Dr McCrackin, Dr Ristic and the team from the ASC group investigated how facial emotion recognition is affected by mask wearing. We asked participants to identify happy, angry, fearful, sad, surprised, disgusted, and neutral emotional expressions from masked and unmasked face images. Participants also completed two questionnaires to assess if the impact of masks on emotion recognition was related to self-reported social competence and personality traits. We showed that recognition of all basic facial expressions is strikingly impaired by face masks. While the impact of masks on emotion recognition was largely consistent, there was some variation observed across individuals. Specifically, while those with lower social competence had worse emotion recognition for unmasked faces, those with higher trait agreeableness and lower trait extraversion had better emotion recognition for masked faces. Our results suggest that this basic form of nonverbal communication is heavily impacted by face masks and this could be contributing to some of the feelings of isolation and loneliness that many have experienced during the pandemic.

 

The Annual Harvard Women in Psychology, Trends in Psychology Summit (TiPs) - November 2021 

Dr. Sarah McCrackin, Florence Mayrand, and Victoria Fratino attended the Annual Harvard Trends in Psychology Summit. Florence Mayrand (first video) presented her talk on "Looking while Speaking and Looking while Listening in Dyadic Interactions." Victoria Fratino (second video) presented the talk, "Two is Company, Three is a Crowd: The Perceptual Unity of Dyads and Small Groups." Dr. Sarah McCrackin (third photo) presented her poster, "I can't see it in your eyes: occluding as individual's eye-region impacts the ability to infer and share their emotional state."

                                                                                     

                                                                                

                                                                                     

                     

 

Psychonomics Conference - November 2021

Dr. Sarah McCrackin and Florence Mayrand attended the 2021 Psychonomics Conference! Dr. Sarah McCrackin (first video) presented a talk on how gaze signals include complex representations of other people's minds. Florence Mayrand (second photo) presented her poster "Social Attention is modulated by Reciprocal Looking Behaviors during Social Interactions." 

                                                                                     

                   

                      

 

The Object perception, visual Attention, and visual Memory (OPAM) Conference - November 2021

Dr. Sarah McCrackin attended the OPAM 2021 Virtual Conference! Dr. Sarah McCrackin presented a talk on how the mental aspect of social orienting is associated with individual perspective perspective taking abilities. 

                                                                                     

 

The Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS) Conference - June 2021 

Dr. Sarah McCrackin, Florence Mayrand, and Victoria Fratino attended the CSBBCS 2021 Virtual Conference! Dr. McCrackin (first and second video) presented a talk on how individual differences in social competence and personality traits modulate emotion recognition from masked faces. Florence Mayrand (third photo) presented her poster "Interactive and noninteractive gaze exchanges during real life interactions". Victoria Fratino presented her poster, "Two is Company, Three is a Crowd: The Perceptual Unity of Dyads and Small Groups" (fourth photo) on the perceptual unity of triads.

                                                                         

                       

                        


Highlights 2020-21

Vision Sciences Society (VSS) Virtual Conference - May 2021

Dr. Sarah McCrackin and Florence Mayrand attended the VSS 2021 Virtual Conference! Dr. Sarah McCrackin presented a poster on how the recognition of emotions is affected by face masks (first photo). Florence Mayrand presented a poster on how both cue directionality and mental perspective contribute to social attention (second photo). 

                       

                        

Undergraduate Poster Day - April 2021

Congratulations to our undergraduates Miriam Cheety (first picture), Sabrina Provencher (second photo), Victoria Fratino (third picture), and Julie-Ann Di Blasio (fourth picture) for a great job on their poster presentations! 

Miriam presenting her poster via Zoom

Sabrina presenting her poster via Zoom

Victoria presenting her poster via Zoom

Julie-Ann presenting her poster via Zoom

 

Celebration for Dr. Francesca Capozzi! - April 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Francesca Capozzi (top row, 2nd to right) who is starting a new chapter of her career in clinical psychology. We will miss her greatly but wish her the best of luck in her clinical training at McGill University for Couple and Family Therapy. We gifted Francesca a custom A&SC mug. We also surprised our lab coordinator Jessica Haight (top row, 2nd to left) with a custom A&SC mug. Jessica is departing to start a graduate program in public health at the University of Alberta.

Lab on a zoom call together

 

Celebration for Dr. Effie Pereira! - November 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Effie Pereira (far left, 2nd from top) who recently completed her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at McGill! We had a celebration over Zoom and surprised her with a mug customized with our A&SC logo! We wish her the best of luck in starting a new chapter at the University of Waterloo working with Dr. Daniel Smilek in the Vision & Attention Laboratory. 

Lab meeting over Zoom with Dr. Effie Pereira holding up a present, a mug.

 

New Paper - November 2020

Dr. Francesca Capozzi, Dr. Basil Wahn, Dr. Jelena Ristic, and Dr. Alan Kingstone's article "Prior attentional bias is modulated by social gaze," published in Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, looks into whether or not the influence of the gaze of others can bias one's attention to environmental cues. 

Picture of the stimuli used in the study. Four pictures, each with four faces facing different directions with a target cue.

 

New Publication - October 2020

Dr. Francesca Capozzi, Dr. Nida Latif, Emma Ponath, and Dr. Jelena Ristic's publication, "Auditory and visual information affect social segmentation differently," in the Journal of Vision, looks at the role of perceptual modalities in how people differentiate social and non-social information in the environment.

The cover page of the Journal of Vision October 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's Talk Science publication - 2020

Let's Talk Science is a charitable organization that works to support Canadian youth in pursuit of STEM education. Dr. Sarah McCrackin has teamed up with Let's Talk Science for talks and workshops at schools, libraries, and community centres. Most recently, Sarah published an article, "Facial Recognition and the Brain," which provides engaging and interactive information on how brains process faces. She explains how you might even see a smiling face on a car (picture below). 

A car with headlights that might look like a smiley face.
Licensed under Attribution

 

Sarah McCrackin joined the lab! - October 2020

Dr. Sarah McCrackin joined us from the University of Waterloo where she completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience. She studied how people use the information from the eye-gaze of others to relate to them on an emotional level. We are excited to have her with us!

Dr. Sarah McCrackin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Featured in Character & Context - September 2020

Dr. Francesca Capozzi, Dr. Jelena Ristic, and Dr. Lauren Human’s article “Attention promotes accurate impression formation” was featured by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s blog, Character & Context. The article revealed that paying more attention to others was related to an increased ability to understand their personality. These results suggest that attention promotes social adaptation by supporting accurate social perception.

Two people engaged in conversation

 

Effie Pereira completed her Ph.D. Defence! - August 2020

Dr. Effie Pereira completed her Ph.D. with a successful dissertation defence on the role of external factors on social attention, finding strong null effects for previously-studied face biases.

Dr. Effie Pereira beside a picture of her dissertation

Effie Pereira is featured in promotional materials for Research Day! - July 2020 

Effie Pereira was featured on the cover of the promotional materials for the Virtual Healthy Brains and Healthy Lives Research Day, which showcases the research of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are working in areas of HBHL’s goals and priorities.

Effie Pereira on the cover of the promotional materials for Virtual Research Day 2020
Licensed under Attribution

Highlights 2019-20

In the Spotlight features Francesca Capozzi - March 2020

Dr. Francesca Capozzi was featured by In the Spotlight, a monthly series in which the McGill Psychology Department profiles graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The writer and interviewer was our very own, Effie Pereira! Francesca talks about her nonlinear path in academia and her work on the hidden social dynamics in group interactions.

Picture of Dr. Francesca Capozzi with the quote, "I am excited by the fact that I am one of the first researchers addressing these new issues of how attention works in groups and crowds."

 

Psychonomics Conference - November 2019

Dr. Jelena Ristic, Dr. Francesca Capozzi, and Effie Pereira attended the 60th Annual Meeting for the Psychonomics Society in Montréal. Dr. Jelena Ristic (first photo) and Dr. Francesca Capozzi (second photo) presented the talk, "The Language of the Eyes: How Looking Behaviour Indexes Group Dynamics and Predicts Individual Socio-Cognitive Function." Effie Pereira (third photo) presented her poster, "Overt Social Attention Is Differentially Affected by Differences in Stimulus Content Information" on attention biasing towards social cues.

Dr. Jelena Ristic at the podium presenting her talk.

Dr. Francesca Capozzi at the podium presenting.

Effie Pereira standing in front of her poster

 

Object, Perception, Attention and Memory (OPAM) Conference – November 2019

Effie Pereira presented her poster, "Variability in the content of mind wandering is associated with intrinsic connectivity within the default network" at the 2019 OPAM Conference in Montréal. Effie presented her latest fMRI work looking at the relationship between the default network of our brain and the content of what we mind wander to.

Effie standing in front of her poster

 

Effie Received an Entrance Scholarship - September 2019

Effie Pereira received the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives Entrance Scholarship for IVADO/MILA Deep Learning School. The Learning School involved a deep dive into machine learning and deep learning techniques.

Effie Pereira standing in front of poster for the Deep Learning program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Featured in Science Trends - August 2019

Effie Pereira’s article, “Looking versus focusing on faces: What attracts our attention?” was featured in Science Trends. Thank you to Trevor Nace and Emily Spear, editors at Science Trends. Effie’s research shows that although spontaneous attention to faces may be less robust than we expected, it’s also much more complex than we realized!

A crowd of faces looking forward at something that the audience doesn't see
Licensed under Attribution

Highlights 2018-19

Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS) Conference – June 2019

Effie Pereira and Dr. Francesca Capozzi attended the CSBBCS Conference in Waterloo. Effie Pereira (first photo) presented her talk, "Within-individual oscillatory patterns of mind wandering and attentive states are associated with functional life outcomes." Effie received the CSBBCS Hebb Student Award and runner-up for Best Oral Presentation! Francesca (second photo) presented "Standing out from the Crowd: Both social information and cue numerosity affect attention in multi-agent contexts."

Francesca standing on stage and presenting

Effie standing on stage and presenting

 

Research Day – May 2019

Effie Pereira attended the Health Brains awarded the Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) Research Day and received the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) HBHL Award and Best Oral Presentation for her talk, “Within-individual oscillatory patterns in mind wandering and attentive states are associated with functional life outcomes." You can view her talk here

Effie Pereira standing and receiving her award.

Effie on stage speaking

 

Undergraduate Poster Day - April 2019

Yongyao (Carol) Li presenting her research on attention and faces at the Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day!

Carol standing in front of her poster

 

Symposium on Nonlinear Dynamics – August 2018

Effie Pereira presented her talk, "Oscillatory patterns of mind wandering predict real-world costs & benefits" at the Symposium on Nonlinear Dynamics in Montréal. 

Effie presenting in front of a group of people

 

 

Highlights 2017-18

Vision Science Society conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida - May 2018

At the Vision Science Society Conference Effie Pereira (top right picture) presented her work on attentional selection of faces, Francesca Capozzi (first photo below) presented her work on the segmentation of social and non social events, and Nida Latif (second photo below) presented her work on social event segmentation related to perceptual and contextual information. 

Effie standing in front of her poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francesca standing in front of her poster

Nida standing in front of her poster

 

Dr. Jelena Ristic won the Women in Cognitive Science Mentorship Award - 2017

Dr. Jelena Ristic won the Women in Cognitive Science Mentorship Award for her many years of developing the research and publication skills of female graduate and undergraduate students in cognitive science.

 

Dr. Jelena Ristic

 

The Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology Best Article Award - 2017

Dr. Jelena Ristic and her colleagues, Dr. Dana Hayward (lead author), Dr. Willa Voorhies, Dr. Jenna Morris and Dr. Francesca Capozzi, are the winners of the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology 2017 Best Article Award for, “Staring Reality in the Face: A Comparison of Social Attention Across Laboratory and Real World Measures Suggest Little Common Ground.”

Certificate for best article award

 

Psychonomic Conference, Vancouver - November 2017

Effie Pereira attended the 58th Annual Psychonomic Conference in Vancouver, BC and shared her research on mind wandering.

Effie standing in front of poster

Effie standing in front of her poster

 

McGill's Rising Stars - September 2017

Francesca Capozzi participated in a networking event recognizing researchers who were recently granted the SSHRI Insight Development Grant. 

Francesca standing among other award recipients.

Highlights 2016-17

Farewell party for Chris - June 2017

Congrats to Chris Blair who is joining Eastern Oregon University as an Assistant Professor. 

Chris holding a t-shirt

Present for Chris which was a picture frame with pictures of him and nice messages.

 

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day - April 2017

Congrats to our undergraduates, Yuqi Lin (first picture), Victoria Ledsham (second photo), Iman Lahouaoula (third picture) and Rachel Markham (fourth picture) for their poster presentations! 

Yuqi with poster.

Victoria with poster.

Iman with poster

Rachel with poster.

 

Cognitive Science Undergraduate Poster Day - April 2017

Congrats to our undergraduates, Olivia Larson (third picture) and Jackie Brown (fourth picture) for their poster presentations! 

Undergraduates and supervisors standing together in front of posters.

Undergraduates and supervisors standing in front of posters

Olivia with poster.

Jackie with poster.

 

Arts Undergraduate Research Event - January 2017

Congratulations to Yun Lu for her poster presentation!

Undergraduate standing in front of her poster

Highlights 2015-16

Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science - June 2016

See Lauri Gurguryan standing in front of her poster (second picture), Francesca Capozzi presenting (third picture), Effie Pereira presenting (fourth picture), and Chris Blair presenting (fifth picture) at the CSBBCS 2016 meeting in Ottawa, Ontario

Group picture

Lauri standing in front of her poster

Francesca on stage presenting

Effie on stage presenting

Chris on stage presenting

 

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day - April 2016

Congratulations to our undergraduates, Marianna Lau (third picture), Mona Li (fourth picture), Nicole (Seulman) Ahn (fifth picture, and Yun Lu (sixth picture). 

Group photo

Another group photo

Marianna standing in front of her poster

Mona standing in front of her poster.

Nicole standing in front of her poster

Picture of Yun standing in front of her picture.

Cognitive Science Undergraduate Research Day - April 2016

Congratulations to our undergraduates on their presentations!

Undergraduate on stage presenting

Highlights 2014-15

Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science - July 2015

See Todd Vogel (first picture), Dana Hayward (second picture), and Effie Pereira (third picture) at the 2015 CSBBCS meeting in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Todd standing with his poster

Dana standing with her poster.

Effie standing with her poster

Vision Science Society - 2015

See Effie Pereira (first picture, left), Dana Hayward (first picture, middle), and Todd Vogel (first picture, right) at the 2015 VSS at St. Pete, Beach, Florida!

Effie, Dana, and Todd taking a selfie

Todd standing at a computer

Undergraduate standing with her poster

Undergraduate standing in front of their poster

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day - April 2015

Congratulations our undergraduates for their poster presentations!

Undergrads standing together in front of posters

Undergrad standing in front of her poster

Lauri standing in front of her poster.

Undergrad standing in front of her poster.

 

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