Dr Iris Holzleitner

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About me

Virtual office hour: Wednesday 3-4pm on MS Teams

I am an experimental psychologist with a strong interest in methods and Open Science. I completed my undergrad and master’s in Biology at the University of Vienna, specializing in biological anthropology and human behaviour. In 2011, I moved to Scotland to do my PhD with Prof Dave Perrett in the Perception Lab at the University of St Andrews. After I received my PhD, I completed a post-doc at the University of Glasgow, where I was working on a five-year-long ERC-funded project on human kin recognition with Prof Lisa DeBruine in the Face Research Lab.

While I have a broader interest in human behaviour and social cognition, the bulk of my work has focused on social face perception. Faces have a crucial role in social interactions—they provide a rich source of information, as well as a canvas to which traits, attitudes and behavioural tendencies are ascribed to, often with consequential real-world outcomes. I am interested in understanding how facial cues affect social interactions, and why: many judgments we make are inaccurate, but also extremely quick and showing significant consensus across observers, suggesting that there is more at play than mere idiosyncrasies. In particular, I am interested in the evolutionary, neurobiological, and socio-cultural influences that shape our preferences and underpin our responses to facial cues. I take a data-driven and functional approach in my work (“perceiving is for doing”), and my research is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on models and methods from experimental psychology, evolutionary biology, and computer science.

Area of expertise

Social face perception, evolutionary psychology, geometric morphometrics

Find out more about (and take part in) current dissertation projects at https://faceresearch-uwebristol.github.io/


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