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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology

Faculty

Max Weisbuch

Areas of expertise/research interests

  • social perception
  • social influence
  • nonverbal behavior
  • affective processes

Current research and projects

The research in my lab currently focuses on two broad topics:

Nonverbal behavior seems to be privileged in social perception. People are extremely sensitive to others' nonverbal behavior and process it in the absence of intention or awareness. My colleagues, students and I continue to examine how the perception of nonverbal behavior can influence everything from implicit race biases to subjective social norms.

Emotional (affective) responses to other people sometimes precede conscious perception. My colleagues, students and I have examined the antecedents and consequences of these fast affective responses. We have found that even when people cannot see or recall affective cues, these cues can influence self-esteem, cardiovascular responses, the processing of persuasive messages and more.

Professional biography

As director of the social perception and attitudes (SPA) lab, I study social perception and social influence. My research has been guided by the idea that social perception processes play a key role in conformity, socialization and persuasion. After all, it is only through perceptual processes that I encounter other people, and it is only through such social perception that I can be influenced by other people.

In general, I am interested in characterizing the extremely early stages of social thinking and examining how they contribute to social problems and solutions.

Education

  • PhD, Social Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • BA, Psychology, Tulane University

Selected Publications

  • Weisbuch, M., & Pauker, K. (2011). "The nonverbal transmission of intergroup bias: A model of bias contagion with implications for social policy." Social Issues and Policy Review, 5, 257-291.
  • Weisbuch, M., & Ambady, N. (2009). "Unspoken cultural influence: Exposure to and influence of nonverbal bias." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1104-1119.
  • Weisbuch, M., Pauker, K., & Ambady, N. (2009). "The subtle transmission of race bias via televised nonverbal behavior." Science, 326, 1711-1714.
  • Weisbuch, M., Sinclair, S. L., Skorinko, J., & Eccleston, C. P. (2009). "Self-esteem depends on the beholder: Effects of a subtle social value cue." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 143-148.
  • Weisbuch, M., & Ambady, N. (2008). "Affective divergence: Automatic responses to others' emotions depend on group membership." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1063-1079.