The Interactive and Functional Assessment of Communication and Emotion (InterFACE) Center studies social cognition, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal problems in people with psychological disorders, developmental disorders, or neurological injuries such as traumatic brain injury or stroke.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is social cognition?Social cognition has to do with the way people process and store information about themselves and others, such as what are they feeling or thinking, as well social situations.
What happens when social cognition is impaired?When social cognition is impaired, patients often have emotional, behavioral and interpersonal challenges.
How can social cognition be improved?These types of emotional and social problems are quite complex, so it is not easy to detect key factors that lead to social cognition deficits. Research to better understand these factors is critical to developing effective treatments for impaired social cognition.
How do scientists study social cognition?The center is a natural observation laboratory where investigators observe, record and analyze objective data on participants’ behaviors and interactions. Too often, research relies solely on subjective reports to understand the problem, but that is only a piece of the picture and sometimes can be inaccurate.
With a living room design, the Interactive and Functional Assessment of Communication and Emotion (InterFACE) Center has three high-definition cameras and a wall-mounted microphone that allows investigators to observe and record participants’ behaviors and interpersonal interactions. The lab also has immersive virtual reality equipment, advanced eye tracking technology and wireless technology to monitor physiological responses, including heart rate and breathing. This technology gives researchers a complete picture of the problem to study underlying mechanisms and collect objective data that is time-synced with behavioral responses.