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An open book

Expectation Confirmation

    You are driving your car on the freeway. You are getting annoyed at the slow car driving in front of you. After a few minutes, you finally manage to pass the car. When you look at the other car to see who the driver is, you see a very old woman. What would you feel and think about it? What would you feel if the driver was a young man?

    Expectations construct and constrain most of our daily thoughts and activities. Predictions derived from these expectations enable us to efficiently process the ever-increasing amount of information overload in our environment. Expectations play a particularly decisive role in the social domain. We expect specific people to act according to what we perceive is typical to their affiliation groups.


    In our lab, we study how confirmation and violation of social expectations influence evaluation, decision making, motivation, and memory. We integrate insights and tools from social psychology, human neuroscience, computational models, and behavioral economics to investigate the mechanisms underlying the influence of expectations and their downstream effects. We are currently investigating the involvement of reward and motivation mechanisms in the establishment, reinforcement, and persistence of social stereotypes.

Perceptions of Ingroup and Outgroup members

    Numerous studies demonstrate that people have a hard time telling apart the faces of people from ethnicities different than their own. This cross-group homogeneity effect extends from face perception to traits attribution and It’s one of the most robust findings regarding how we perceive other groups.


    We study the neural, perceptual, and motivational mechanisms enabling and facilitating the cross-group homogeneity effect. We demonstrate that basic-level perceptual processes support the exclusive individuation of ingroup members, suggesting that we extract information about group affiliation very early in the perception of another individual. Current work focuses on factors that might attenuate the exclusivity of this effect.


    Importantly, we take a cross-cultural approach. Most studies of the cross-group effect to date have focused on specific social groups. It remains unclear whether the effects observed in the populations typically studied in psychological research easily extend to societies with inherent diversity in ethnicity such as the Israeli society. To explore this aspect, we are collaborating with other labs in Israel in building a face database to reflect the Israeli population. Given recent evidence that classic models of face evaluation might not hold for Israeli perceivers, we plan to use this database to systematically explore the social perception of Israeli targets.

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