Krämer, Katharina (2014). Investigating Social Cognition: Lessons from the Perception of Dynamic Nonverbal Cues in Cross-Cultural Psychology and High-Functioning Autism. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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Our ability to perceive and accurately interpret dynamic nonverbal cues is essential for successful social interactions with others. Interestingly, a variety of factors influences the perception of dynamic nonverbal cues. During the perception of dynamic facial expressions, for example, the cultural background as well as the gaze direction of the person who displays the emotion are relevant. Furthermore, deficits in social cognition, characteristic of neurodevelopmental disorders like high-functioning autism (HFA), can lead to impairments in the perception of dynamic nonverbal cues. Investigating the influence of these factors that effect the perception of dynamic nonverbal cues enables us to enhance our knowledge of social cognition in healthy and psychopathological contexts. Thus, this thesis investigated the perception of emotions across cultures and the perception of animacy in HFA. First, we demonstrate that the way we behaviourally perceive and neurally process dynamic emotional cues in cross-cultural interactions is modulated by a variety of different factors (e.g. gaze direction, emotion’s valence) which, apart from the individual influences they exert on emotion perception, interact in their combined influence on emotion perception (Studies 1 and 2). Second, the present work provides empirical evidence that while HFA participants are in general capable of perceiving animacy in moving geometric objects, they show a specific impairment in the automatic processing of animacy-inducing motion patterns compared to typically developed participants (Study 3). Taken together, the results of the present thesis suggest that studying the perception of dynamic nonverbal cues is in particular suitable for the investigation of social cognition in healthy and psychopathological contexts, as it enhances our understanding of its underlying behavioural and neural processes and provides an insight into how people navigate their social worlds.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Krämer, Katharinakatharina.kraemer@uk-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-57241
Date: 14 August 2014
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Psychologie
Subjects: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
gaze directionEnglish
high-functioning autismEnglish
social cognitionEnglish
Date of oral exam: 9 July 2014
NameAcademic Title
Bente, GaryProf. Dr.
Vogeley, KaiProf. Dr. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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