Research Interests

Ekman’s Faces reproduced by lab members.

Dr. Frank Bernieri's research focuses on first impressions and the analysis of thin slices of recorded behavior. His research questions have focused on relationship variables such as love, rapport, and communication effectiveness. Recently, he has begun to extend and apply this work to human-robot interactions.

Another major focus of Dr. Bernieri's research involves the understanding and assessment of interpersonal sensitivity. His research within these two domains has spanned the entire human life-span from the study of infants and grade schoolers, to high and college students, to the elderly. He has focused on many different social and professional settings such as classrooms, courtrooms, professional offices, and the home.

General Objectives

More generally, the Interpersonal Sensitivity Lab investigates the phenomena and theory associated with face-to-face and person-to-person interactions. In face-to-face interactions, much of what takes place can be understood by carefully studying nonverbal behavior. In fact, in some cases, this nonverbal behavior that can be seen, heard, and measured more validly reflects what is happening than do the self-reports of the people involved. We are studying both the relationship between a person’s internal states and their expressive behavior (encoding) and the relationship between expressed behaviors and how they are judged and construed by observers (decoding).