Research

In his research, Dr. Deska uses a social perception and cognition framework to understand social inequality. He is particularly interested in understanding how and when people use visual cues and social categories to make evaluative judgments about others that are discriminatory and dehumanizing, and how these judgments can be both cause and consequence of disparate outcomes.

Face Perception. The face is perhaps the single most important source of social information. In one program of research, Dr. Deska investigates how everyday face perception and processing influences how people come to understand others’ cognitive capacities and emotional experiences. Here, he explores how face structure, features, and processing influence how we understand others’ minds (e.g., Alaei, Deska, Hugenberg, & Rule, invited revision; Deska, Almaraz, & Hugenberg, 2017; Deska, Lloyd, & Hugenberg, 2018; Khalid, Deska, & Hugenberg, 2016), emotional expressions (Deska, Lloyd, & Hugenberg, 2018), and experiences of pain (Deska & Hugenberg, 2018).

Body Perception. Much like the face, the human body guides impression formation. Its features, shape, and the dynamics of its motion influence how people understand others. In this area of his research, Dr. Deska explore how body morphology (Deska, Kunstman, Almaraz, Lloyd, Hugenberg, & Smith, in prep; Lloyd, McConnell, Deska, Almaraz, & Hugenberg, in prep), posture (Deska & Hugenberg, in prep), movement (Deska, Rule, Johnson, & Hugenberg, in prep), and perceived capacity for action (Deska, Almaraz, & Hugenberg, invited revision) shape the judgments we make of others.

Social Categories. Although we benefit greatly from our membership in social groups, people often have prejudiced attitudes about other groups that can lead to discriminatory outcomes. In this area of research, Dr. Deska examines how social categories influence people’s willingness to trust others (Lloyd, Hugenberg, McConnell, Kunstman, & Deska, 2017), learn from others’ mistakes (Walker, Smallman, Summerville, & Deska, 2016) understand others’ pain experiences (Deska, Kunstman, Lloyd, Almaraz, Bernstein, Hugenberg & Gonzales, under review; Lloyd, Summers, Deska, Almaraz, & Hugenberg, invited revision), and affect how we treat each other (Deska, Kunstman, Smith, Witte, & Rancourt, in prep; Kunstman, Plant, & Deska, 2016; Lloyd, Parsons, Deska, Clerkin, & Hugenberg, in prep). In his dissertation, Dr. Deska explored how the properties of groups influence the judgments we make about the members of those groups (Deska, Almaraz, & Hugenberg, under review).