Social perception as Bayesian hypothesis testing and revision

Funder information

  • ' Leverhulme Trust
  • * £462,995
  • & 08/05/2020 – 07/11/2023

This 42-month project is an interdisciplinary collaboration bringing together a team of psychologists, neuroscientists and computer scientists to develop the necessary knowledge and tools to investigate how we understand and predict other people’s behaviour. This project tests the novel proposal that social perception is a predictive process, in which the brain constantly (and unconsciously) “tries out” mental state attributions and tests whether they explain others’ actual behaviour. The proposed work uses behavioural, neurocognitive, and computational methods to establish a full model of social hypothesis testing and revision that reveals (1) the mental mechanisms through which predictions are derived from knowledge of other minds, (2) how these predictions shape what we see, and (3) how prediction failures are used to revise our knowledge about other’s goals and beliefs.


Working in collaboration with

  • ' University of Aberdeen
  • ' Bangor University