Person perception and social comparison. Human beings are among the most complex stimuli of our environment. Not only can we judge other people on multiple characteristics (intelligence, attractiveness, trustworthiness…) but each of these characteristics is in itself complex and multidimensional. Yet, it takes us less than a few hundred milliseconds to form a lasting impression of the people we encounter. It is thus likely that when we perceive others, we integrate the information at our disposal and reduce it to something simpler, similar to a single value. How is this value represented and processed? This is one of the main questions that drive my research.
In order to investigate this question, my research aims at elucidating the neural and cognitive processes of social comparison. Indeed, whenever we judge someone, we compare this person to ourselves, someone else or an internalized norm or standard. Any judgment is thus in essence comparative. Therefore, understanding how we compare other people or how we compare ourselves to other people can help us understand how we judge others and ourselves.
Social neuroscience. Social neuroscience is a new discipline that aims at investigating the neural correlates of social information processing. My approach to social neuroscience consists in using, in addition to classical behavioral methods, neuroimaging technics such as fMRI or EEG in order to understand the cognitive processes at stake in social interactions. In particular, I am interested in the extent to which nonsocial (e.g. number comparison) and social cognitive processes (e.g. social comparison) overlap.