Human Information Processing Laboratory (HIP-Lab)

Institution: Tampere University

About the lab

The major goal of our research in the Human Information Processing Laboratory is to understand the cognitive, neural, and developmental mechanisms involved in the perception socially relevant information, and the factors contributing to individual differences in social information processing.

Featured research (2)

Eye contact with a social robot has been shown to elicit similar psychophysiological responses to eye contact with another human. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the attention- and affect-related psychophysiological responses differentiate between direct (toward the observer) and averted gaze mainly when viewing embodied faces that are capable of social interaction, whereas pictorial or pre-recorded stimuli have no such capability. It has been suggested that genuine eye contact, as indicated by the differential psychophysiological responses to direct and averted gaze, requires a feeling of being watched by another mind. Therefore, we measured event-related potentials (N170 and frontal P300) with EEG, facial electromyography, skin conductance, and heart rate deceleration responses to seeing a humanoid robot's direct versus averted gaze, while manipulating the impression of the robot's intentionality. The results showed that the N170 and the facial zygomatic responses were greater to direct than to averted gaze of the robot, and independent of the robot's intentionality, whereas the frontal P300 responses were more positive to direct than to averted gaze only when the robot appeared intentional. The study provides further evidence that the gaze behavior of a social robot elicits attentional and affective responses and adds that the robot's seemingly autonomous social behavior plays an important role in eliciting higher-level socio-cognitive processing.
Increased thinking about one’s self has been proposed to widen the gaze cone, that is, the range of gaze deviations that an observer judges as looking directly at them (eye contact). This study investigated the effects of a self-referential thinking manipulation and demographic factors on the gaze cone. In a preregistered experiment (N = 200), the self-referential thinking manipulation, as compared to a control manipulation, did not influence the gaze cone, or the use of first-person pronouns in a manipulation check measuring self-referential processing. This may indicate a failure of the manipulation and participants’ lack of effort. However, participants’ age was significantly correlated with both measures: older people had wider gaze cones and used more self-referring pronouns. A second experiment (N = 300) further examined the effect of the manipulation and demographic factors on self-referential processing, and the results were replicated. These findings may reflect age-related self-reference and positivity effects.

Lab head

Jari K Hietanen
  • Faculty of Social Sciences/Psychology
About Jari K Hietanen
  • Jari K Hietanen currently works at the Faculty of Social Sciences/Psychology, Tampere University. Jari does research in Cognitive Psychology, Neuropsychology and Social Psychology.

Members (10)

Anneli Kylliäinen
  • Tampere University
Mikko Peltola
  • Tampere University
Heini Saarimäki
  • Tampere University
Aleksi Syrjämäki
  • Tampere University
Elisa Vuoriainen
  • Tampere University
Terhi Helminen
  • Tampere University
Jonne O. Hietanen
  • Tampere University
Helena Kiilavuori
  • Tampere University
Jenni Lauttia
Jenni Lauttia
  • Not confirmed yet