Geoffrey Bird

Geoffrey Bird
University of Oxford | OX · Department of Experimental Psychology

Ph.D.

About

267
Publications
97,298
Reads
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12,478
Citations
Introduction
Geoff Bird currently works at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. Geoff researches social cognition in typical and atypical groups
Additional affiliations
January 2013 - present
King's College London
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (267)
Article
Full-text available
Despite increasing empirical and theoretical work on empathy, particularly on the content of empathic representations, there is a relative lack of consensus regarding the information processing necessary for empathy to occur. Here we attempt to delineate a mechanistic cognitive model of empathy in order to provide a framework within which neuroimag...
Article
Full-text available
In the director task (DT), participants are instructed to move objects within a grid of shelves while ignoring those objects that cannot be seen by a human figure, the "director," located beyond the shelves. It is widely assumed that, since they are explicitly instructed to do, participants use mentalizing in this communicative task; they represent...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely accepted that autism is associated with disordered emotion processing and, in particular, with deficits of emotional reciprocity such as impaired emotion recognition and reduced empathy. However, a close examination of the literature reveals wide heterogeneity within the autistic population with respect to emotional competence. Here we...
Article
Full-text available
Despite considerable research into whether face perception is impaired in autistic individuals, clear answers have proved elusive. In the present study, we sought to determine whether co-occurring alexithymia (characterized by difficulties interpreting emotional states) may be responsible for face-perception deficits previously attributed to autism...
Article
Full-text available
Difficulties in social cognition are well recognized in individuals with autism spectrum conditions (henceforth 'autism'). Here we focus on one crucial aspect of social cognition: the ability to empathize with the feelings of another. In contrast to theory of mind, a capacity that has often been observed to be impaired in individuals with autism, m...
Article
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Unemployment and underemployment have consistently been shown to be higher in autistic adults relative to non-autistic adults. This may be due, in part, to a lack of workplace accommodations being made for autistic people. One factor that may contribute to employment inequalities in autistic people is differences in attitudes towards interpersonal...
Preprint
Group membership is known to influence empathy – people empathise less, fail to empathise, or even take pleasure in outgroup suffering. One promising way to encourage empathy for outgroups involves portraying intergroup empathy as normative. However, people are often unaware of operative empathic norms, and must consequently rely on their subjectiv...
Article
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Previous studies have struggled to determine the relationship between mirror neuron brain regions and two distinct ‘action understanding’ processes: identifying actions, and identifying the intentions underlying those actions. This may be because the identification of intentions from others’ actions requires an initial action identification process...
Article
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Anxiety is often conceptualised as the prototypical disorder of interoception (one’s perception of bodily states). Whilst theoretical models predict an association between interoceptive accuracy and anxiety, empirical work has produced mixed results. This manuscript presents a pre-registered systematic review (https://osf.io/2h5xz) and meta-analysi...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the heterogeneity in autism, socioemotional difficulties are often framed as universal. Increasing evidence, however, suggests socioemotional difficulties may be explained by alexithymia, a distinct yet frequently co-occurring condition. If, as some propose, autistic traits are responsible for socioemotional impairments, then alexithymia ma...
Article
Full-text available
Tasks measuring the sense of agency often manipulate the predictability of action outcomes by introducing spatial deviation. However, the extent to which spatial predictability of an outcome influences the sense of agency when spatial deviation is controlled for remains untested. We used a novel task to investigate the effect of several factors (ac...
Article
Full-text available
According to predictive processing theories, emotional inference involves simultaneously minimising discrepancies between predictions and sensory evidence relating to both one's own and others' states, achievable by altering either one's own state (empathy) or perception of another's state (egocentric bias) so they are more congruent. We tested a k...
Preprint
Theory of mind (ToM), the ability to represent the mental states of oneself and others, is argued to be central to human social experience, and impairments in this ability are thought to underlie several psychiatric and developmental conditions. Two ways in which individual differences in ToM might manifest are in the propensity to engage in mental...
Article
Full-text available
Significant comorbidity has been demonstrated between feeding and eating disorders and autism. Atypical interoception (perception of bodily signals) may, at least in part, be responsible for this association, as it has been implicated in the aetiology of both conditions. However, significant methodological limitations are impeding progress in this...
Preprint
From ‘likes’ on social media, to seeing other people eat in a restaurant, every day we constantly observe other people receiving rewards. Theoretical accounts posit that vicarious processing of these rewards might be linked to people’s sensitivity to internal body states (interoception) and facilitates a tendency to act prosocially to obtain positi...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to identify others’ actions and intentions, “action understanding”, is crucial for successful social interaction. Under direct accounts, action understanding takes place without the involvement of inferential processes, a claim that has yet to be tested using behavioural measures. Using a dual-task paradigm, the present study aimed to e...
Article
Full-text available
Recognized as a simple communicative behavior, referential pointing is cognitively complex because it invites a communicator to consider an addressee's knowledge. Although we know referential pointing is affected by addressees’ physical location, it remains unclear whether and how communicators’ inferences about addressees’ mental representation of...
Preprint
Tasks measuring the sense of agency often manipulate the predictability of action outcomes by introducing spatial deviation. However, the extent to which spatial predictability of an outcome influences the sense of agency when spatial deviation is controlled for remains untested. We used a novel task to investigate the effect of several factors (ac...
Article
Full-text available
The 'Attentional Blink' refers to difficulty in detecting the second of two target stimuli presented in rapid temporal succession. Studies have shown that salient target stimuli, such as one's own name, reduce the magnitude of this effect. Given indications that self-related processing is altered in autism, it is an open question whether this atten...
Article
Full-text available
Theory of Mind (ToM), the ability to represent the mental states of oneself and others, is an essential social skill disrupted across many psychiatric conditions. The transdiagnostic nature of ToM impairment means it is plausible that ToM impairment is related to alexithymia (difficulties identifying and describing one’s own emotions), as alexithym...
Preprint
Effects of ageing on both face perception and face memory have previously been reported. Previous studies, however, have not controlled for the effects of face perception when assessing face memory, meaning that apparent effects of ageing on face memory may actually be due to effects of ageing on face perception. Here, both face perception and face...
Article
Full-text available
Effects of ageing on both face perception and face memory have previously been reported. Previous studies, however, have not controlled for the effects of face perception when assessing face memory, meaning that apparent effects of ageing on face memory may actually be due to effects of ageing on face perception. Here, both face perception and face...
Article
Full-text available
Interoception, perception of one's bodily state, has been associated with mental health and socio-emotional processes. However, several interoception tasks are of questionable validity, meaning associations between interoception and other variables require confirmation with new measures. Here we describe the novel, smartphone-based Phase Adjustment...
Article
Full-text available
The inadequacy of a categorial approach to mental health diagnosis is now well-recognised, with many authors, diagnostic manuals and funding bodies advocating a dimensional, trans-diagnostic approach to mental health research. Variance in interoception, the ability to perceive one’s internal bodily state, is reported across diagnostic boundaries, a...
Poster
Full-text available
Interoception refers to the central nervous system's processing of internal physiological signals, such as heartrate and appetite signals (Khalsa et al., 2018). Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a disorder characterised by chronic widespread pain, in addition to fatigue, sleep disturbances, and autonomic disturbances (Sarzi-Puttini et al., 2020). Pre...
Article
Full-text available
It has been argued that autistic individuals have difficulties with face memory but typical face perception. However, only one previous study has examined both face memory and face perception in the same individuals, and this study was conducted with a small group of autistic children. Here, face recognition was examined with a group of autistic ad...
Preprint
It has been argued that autistic individuals have difficulties with face memory but typical face perception. However, only one previous study has examined both face memory and face perception in the same individuals, and this study was conducted with a small group of autistic children. Here face recognition was examined with a group of autistic adu...
Article
Full-text available
Eye-tracking and recording of physiological signals are increasingly used in research within cognitive science and human-computer interaction. For example, gaze position and measures of autonomic arousal, including pupil dilation, skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR), provide an indicator of cognitive and physiological processes. The growing p...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite the heterogeneity in autism, socioemotional difficulties are often framed as universal. Increasing evidence, however, suggests socioemotional difficulties may be explained by alexithymia, a distinct yet frequently co-occurring condition. If, as some propose, autistic traits are responsible for socioemotional impairments, then alexithymia ma...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses characterized by extreme eating behaviors, such as sustained food restriction or loss of control over eating. Symptoms are thought to be maintained by a variety of mechanisms, one of which may be the socio-cognitive impairments associated with eating disorders. While some previous work has addres...
Article
Full-text available
Tests of face processing are typically designed to identify individuals performing outside of the typical range; either prosopagnosic individuals who exhibit poor face processing ability, or super recognisers, who have superior face processing abilities. Here we describe the development of the Oxford Face Matching Test (OFMT), designed to identify...
Preprint
Full-text available
According to predictive processing theories, emotional inference involves simultaneously minimising discrepancies between predictions and sensory data relating to both one's own and others' states, achievable by altering either one's own state (empathy) or perception of another's state (egocentric bias) so they are more congruent. We tested a key h...
Preprint
Tests of face processing are typically designed to identify individuals performing outside of the typical range; either prosopagnosic individuals who exhibit poor face processing ability, or super recognisers, who have superior face processing abilities. Here we describe the development of the Oxford Face Matching Test (OFMT), designed to identify...
Article
Full-text available
Recognition of emotional facial expressions is considered to be atypical in autism. This difficulty is thought to be due to the way that facial expressions are visually explored. Evidence for atypical visual exploration of emotional faces in autism is, however, equivocal. We propose that, where observed, atypical visual exploration of emotional fac...
Preprint
Recognition of emotional facial expressions is considered to be atypical in autism. This difficulty is thought to be due to the way that facial expressions are visually explored. Evidence for atypical visual exploration of emotional faces in autism is, however, equivocal. We propose that, where observed, atypical visual exploration of emotional fac...
Preprint
Full-text available
Eye-tracking and recording of physiological signals are increasingly used in research within cognitive science and human-computer interaction. For example, gaze position and measures of autonomic arousal, including pupil dilation, skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR), provide an indicator of cognitive and physiological processes. The growing p...
Article
Full-text available
Background Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry that is difficult to control and has high comorbidity with mood disorders including depression. Individuals experience long wait times for diagnosis and often face accessibility barriers to treatment. There is a need for a digital solution that is accessible and accep...
Article
Full-text available
A new task (‘CARER’) was used to test claims of reduced empathy in autistic adults. CARER measures emotion identification (ability to identify another’s affective state), affective empathy (degree to which another’s affective state causes a matching state in the Empathiser) and affect sharing (degree to which the Empathiser’s state matches the stat...
Article
Full-text available
Gaze direction is an important stimulus that signals key details about social (dis)engagement and objects in our physical environment. Here, we explore how gaze direction influences the perceiver's processing of bodily information. Specifically, we examined how averted versus direct gaze modifies the operation of effector-centered representations (...
Article
Full-text available
The Heartbeat Evoked Potential (HEP) has been proposed as a neurophysiological marker of interoceptive processing. Despite its use to validate interoceptive measures and to assess interoceptive functioning in clinical groups, the empirical evidence for a relationship between HEP amplitude and interoceptive processing, including measures of such pro...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Interoception, the perception of one’s internal bodily state, has been repeatedly linked to mental health, and atypical interoception proposed as a transdiagnostic risk factor. Despite the clinical importance of interoception, existing measures are suboptimal as they are susceptible to physiological and psychological confounds. Furtherm...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The prevalence of workplace-related stress and anxiety is high, resulting in stress-related physical and mental illness. Digital self-guided interventions aimed at key areas of workplace design may be able to provide remote anxiolytic effects. Objective: The aim of this feasibility study is to assess changes in anxiety and mental wel...
Article
Full-text available
Interoception concerns the perception of the body’s internal state. Despite the importance of this ability for health and aspects of higher-order cognition, its measurement remains problematic. Most studies of interoception employ one of two tasks: the heartbeat counting or heartbeat discrimination task. These tasks are thought to index common abil...
Article
Full-text available
Use of non-invasive brain stimulation methods (NIBS) has become a common approach to study social processing in addition to behavioural, imaging and lesion studies. However, research using NIBS to investigate social processing faces challenges. Overcoming these is important to allow valid and reliable interpretation of findings in neurotypical coho...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterised by excessive worry that is difficult to control and has high comorbidity with mood disorders including depression. Individuals experience long wait times for diagnosis and often face accessibility barriers to treatment. There is a need for a digital solution that is accessible and accep...
Article
Full-text available
Children with conduct problems (CP) and high levels of callous-unemotional traits (CP/HCU) have been found to have an intact ability to represent other minds, however, they behave in ways that indicate a reduced propensity to consider other people's thoughts and feelings. Here we report findings from three tasks assessing different aspects of menta...
Article
Full-text available
Interoceptive accuracy is frequently assessed using the Heartbeat Counting Task (HCT), requiring participants to count the number of times their heart beats. The HCT validity has been questioned, as participants may perform the task by estimating, rather than counting, their felt heartbeats. Participants could estimate the time or use their knowled...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Language dysfunction has recently been suggested to be one route to alexithymia, an impairment in recognising and communicating one’s own emotions. Neuropsychological evidence is needed to investigate the possibility that acquired language problems could underlie acquired alexithymia. Method: This project examined data from a large gr...
Article
Full-text available
Prosocial behaviours-actions that benefit others-fundamentally shape our interpersonal interactions. Psychiatric disorders have been suggested to be related to prosocial disturbances, which may underlie many of their social impairments. However, broader affective traits, present in different degrees in both psychiatric and healthy populations, have...
Article
Full-text available
Lay abstract: Autistic people sometimes find it difficult to copy another person's movement accurately, especially if the movement is unfamiliar or novel (e.g. to use chop sticks). In this study, we found that autistic people were generally less accurate at copying a novel movement than non-autistic people. However, by making a small adjustment an...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Alexithymia, a difficulty identifying and communicating one’s own emotions, affects socio-emotional processes, such as emotion recognition and empathy. Co-occurring alexithymia is prevalent in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and underlies some socio- emotional difficulties usually attributed to autism. Socio-emotional abilities are exami...
Article
Full-text available
Bayesian accounts of perception, in particular predictive coding models, argue perception results from the integration of 'top-down' signals coding the predicted state of the world with 'bottom-up' information derived from the senses. This integration is biased towards predictions or sensory evidence according to their relative precision. Recent th...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND The prevalence of workplace-related stress and anxiety is high, resulting in stress-related physical and mental illness. Digital self-guided interventions aimed at key areas of workplace design may be able to provide remote anxiolytic effects. OBJECTIVE The aim of this feasibility study is to assess changes in anxiety and mental wellbei...
Article
Full-text available
Background: UK university students are experiencing increasing levels of anxiety. A programme designed to increase awareness of one's present levels of wellbeing and suggest personalized health behaviours may reduce anxiety and improve mental wellbeing in students. The efficacy of a digital version of such a programme, providing biofeedback and th...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND UK university students are experiencing increasing levels of anxiety. A programme designed to increase awareness of one’s present levels of wellbeing and suggest personalized health behaviours may reduce anxiety and improve mental wellbeing in students. The efficacy of a digital version of such a programme, providing biofeedback and ther...
Article
Full-text available
It is generally acknowledged that humans have an egocentric bias; processing self-related stimuli in a specialised, preferential manner. The self-bias has been studied within cognitive domains such as memory, attention and perception; but never across cognitive domains in order to assess whether self-biases are a product of a common bias, or indepe...