Posted by & filed under Cultural Variation, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Here is a good example of how we need to think a bit when we are going to try and conduct research into something like a social behaviour that we are fairly sure we already understand completely. If you were having a conversation with someone and, throughout the conversation while you were speaking they nodded their head regularly. How would you feel about that interaction? What about if you did not actually consciously notice the head nodding? Yes, of course, it would suggest that they agree with you but how might that behavior effect your liking of that person or your ratings of their attractiveness and approachability? Once you have hypotheses in mind in relation to these questions read the brief article linked below that discuses research into these questions. BUT, as you read the article, pay close attention to questions about the research and its generalizability, among other things, that occur to you as you read it. Those sorts of thoughts/questions are an important part of what it means to hold yourself, and others, to criteria of scientific validity and credibility in terms of our thoughts and beliefs about the social world and THAT is a big part of doing Psychology properly.

Source: Nodding raises likability and approachability, Science Daily, Science News.

Date: November 27, 2017

Photo Credit:  Kawahara J. and Osugi T., Perception, September 24, 2017

Links:  Article Link —

So, what additional studies do you think are needed in this area? It is particularly important to be able to think clearly about what other research is needed in areas where the behaviors in question are so much a part of typical social interaction. While we might not think of ourselves as biased when looking at research or theories about the impact of nodding on social interaction and social beliefs and expectations it is certainly true that when we think that we understand something (a social behaviour) outside of any knowledge or awareness of research looking at that behavior we DO run a risk of assuming we know all there is to know about that social, behavior and THAT IS a form of bias. No we do need to read or conduct research in advance of every single social move we make but we DO need to be aware that knowledge based on our personal experiences may NOT be generalizable. So, did you think of the need to replicate the described study with male anima’s and with real people? Good for you if you did (before the researcher raised those issues). But what else might we need to think and potentially do research about? Well how about the fact that the study described was conducted in Japan, a culture where nodding and bowing ( are important and subtly nuanced features of formal social interaction. And what about if the study were done in India where a nod signifies disagreement? Cultural variation is often something we need to remember to consider especially when reflecting upon research into aspects of social interaction.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does nodding or head shaking impact our perceptions of others in social interaction?
  2. How might Jung’s view of dreams be viewed as different than that of Freud?
  3. What might we gain by taking some time to reflect upon our dreams (on those we can recall upon waking up)?

References (Read Further):

Takayuki Osugi, Jun I. Kawahara. Effects of Head Nodding and Shaking Motions on Perceptions of Likeability and Approachability. Perception, 2017; 030100661773320 DOI: 10.1177/0301006617733209

Kawato, S., & Ohya, J. (2000). Real-time detection of nodding and head-shaking by directly detecting and tracking the” between-eyes”. In Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition, 2000. Proceedings. Fourth IEEE International Conference on (pp. 40-45). IEEE.

Fukunaga, N. (2006). “Those anime students”: Foreign language literacy development through Japanese popular culture. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(3), 206-222.