I was invited to write blogs on the Utrecht University news site about the podcasts I make for the Utrecht Young Academy. In my first blogpost, Do not take it at the face value, I introduce the third podcast episode with Ron Dotsch.
Ron Dotsch is a psychologist that has studied human perception of others’ faces for more than a decade. For his research he heavily uses technologies such as virtual reality and computer-generated modelling. He tells me how we adjust our interaction with people based on less than a second of looking at their faces. When meeting strangers, we tend to judge their characteristics, such as trustworthiness, sexual orientation, or political views, based on a very short glance. He also tells me that these kinds of judgment are mostly wrong. Research shows that for guessing the political orientation correctly seeing one’s face does not help any more than knowing age, skin color, and gender. Ron has experienced both making it into the system and breaking away from it. Last summer he resigned from his tenured university position as an associate professor of behavioral psychology. He has left academia to work in a company. I curiously wanted to know why and I could not read it from his face.