Welcome to the homepage of the New School for Social Research Perception Laboratory! We study many aspects of visual perception, with a special focus on the perception of minds.

Even simple geometric shapes look alive and goal-directed if they move in certain ways. These percepts have long fascinated psychologists, but they have often been implicitly treated as a mere curiosity, or epiphenomenon. In contrast, our research has shown that perceiving animacy and intentionality has a host of adaptive downstream effects on attention, memory, and behavior.

In addition to studying the perception of 'minds in motion', lab members conduct research on how intentions are signaled through facial expressions, on the perception of pictorial artworks, and on the intuitive physical assumptions which are embedded in how we perceive the world.

Browse the rest of the lab website for project descriptons, demos, and other odds and ends.

News from the Lab

- Congrats to Jiangxue Ning for receiving a professional development award to present a talk at OPAM in November! (Sep 2023)

- The submission deadline for the Visual Science of Art Conference, in Nicosia Cyprus, has been extended to March 17th. (Mar 2023)

- Congrats to Loren Matelsky, who has received a student travel award to attend the Vision Sciences Society meeting. Loren will give a talk about what facial expressions signal in games, and Hong will present her work showing that rotating objects orient spatial attention in a way which assumes frictive propulsion against a terrestrial surface. (Feb 2023)

- Exciting news! Hong's first perception paper is now published in JEP:HPP. This paper reports a series of experiments showing that we are more sensitive to gravity-opposing speed changes. You can read more about this work over on its project page. (Jan 2023)

- Several lab members are presenting at conferences soon: In August, Hong Nguyen will give a talk about a new attentional cueing effect at the European Conference on Visual Perception (also look out for her table at Demo & Illusion Night!). In September, Jiangxue Ning will present her work at the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, and Ben will speak at a workshop on Perception in Games and Virtual Worlds. (Aug 2022)

- Congrats to Jiangxue Ning and Hong Nguyen for both receiving travel awards to present their research at VSS in May — and thank you to VSS! (Feb 2022)

- Congratulations to Hong Nguyen for winning the Best Talk award at OPAM, for her talk "May the Force be against you: Better sensitivity to acceleration that appears to resist gravity". We are feeling very proud of Hong for having received this recognition for her hard work! (November 2021)

- Psychonomics attendees: look out for our symposium, Beyond the Button Press: Studying the Mind Through Drawings! (November 2021)

- Hong Nguyen's project on the perception of physical forces has been accepted for a talk at the Object Perception & Memory (OPAM) workshop! (August 2021)

- Jiangxue Ning has received an award from the NSSR's student travel fund to support her research on visual aesthetics and the perception of space! (April 2021)

- We are excited to welcome three students from the New School's Psychology MA program into the Cognitive, Social, & Developmental PhD program! Didi Dunin, Suzy Lakatos, and Hong Nguyen have spent the past year developing some cool projects in the lab, with ongoing collaborations in the Fincher, Schober, and Miller labs. (Mar 2021)

- Hong Nguyen, Mariah Woodruff, and Leo Sedlmayer, who have won an MA Project Grant from the Office of Research Support to run a Gestalt Speaker Series in Spring 2021! Look out for email announcements about our upcoming discussions and talks — by Ian Verstegen, Gary Hatfield, Liliana Albertazzi, Eline Van Geert, Ruth Kimchi, and Vebjørn Ekroll. Talks are free and open to the public — schedule and registration details here. (December 2020)

- Congratulations to Silas Choudhury, an undergraduate at Parsons and Lang College, who has received a Student Research Award from the Office of Research Support to fund their project in the lab on the perception of fashion styles! (December 2020)