Broadly construed, social communication and perception include both the sending and receiving of information over distances in space and time. My research examines nonverbal aspects of social perception with an emphasis on visual communication, including both the encoding (i.e., production) and decoding (i.e., perception) of cues that convey messages to others. Although we know quite a lot about how verbal messages operate in communication, we know considerably less about how nonverbal cues such as the body’s shape and motion communicate information to observers. My research shows these messages are crucially important in interpersonal communication.
Thus, my program of research aims to understand the interpersonal messages that are sent by face and body cues. Central questions include: How/why does the way that we move our bodies communicate whether we are a man or woman, gay/lesbian or heterosexual, angry or sad? How do overlapping categories -- for instance, that a person is both Black and male -- affect the way that we interpret messages from nonverbal cues? The answers to such questions have important implications for interpersonal communication, altering not only the interpretation of actions and but also leading to biases that can foster discrimination.
- Johnson, K. L., McKay, L., & Pollick, F. E. (2011). He throws like a girl (but only when he’s sad): Emotion affects sex-decoding of biological motion displays. Cognition, 119, 265-280.
- Ehrlinger, J., Johnson, K. L., Banner, M., Dunning, D. A., & Kruger, J. (2008). Why the unskilled are unaware: Further explorations of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 105, 98-121.
- Ghavami, N., & Johnson, K. L. (2011). Comparing sexual and ethnic minority perspectives on same-sex marriage. Journal of Social Issues, 67, 394-412.
- Johnson, K. L., & Ghavami, N. (2011). At the crossroads of conspicuous and concealable: What race categories communicate about sexual orientation. PLoS One, 6, e18025.
- Freeman, J. B., Johnson, K. L., Ambady, N., & Rule, N. (2010). Sexual orientation perception involves gendered facial cues. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1318-1331.
- Johnson, K. L., Lurye, L. E., & Tassinary, L. G. (2010). Sex categorization among preschool children: Increasing utilization of sexually dimorphic cues. Child Development, 81, 1346-1355.
- Freeman, J. B., Ambady, N., Rule, N. O., & Johnson, K. L (2008). Will a category cue attract you? Motor output reveals dynamic competition across person construal. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 673-690.
- Johnson, K. L., Gill, S., Reichman, V., & Tassinary, L. G. (2007). Swagger, sway, and sexuality: Judging sexual orientation from body motion and morphology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 321-334.
- Johnson, K. L., & Tassinary, L. G. (2007). Compatibility of basic social perceptions determines perceived attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 5246-5251.
- Johnson, K. L., & Tassinary, L. G. (2005). Perceiving sex directly and indirectly: Meaning in motion and morphology. Psychological Science, 16, 890-897.
- Dunning, D. A., Johnson, K. L., Ehrlinger, J., & Kruger, J. (2003). Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 83-87.
- Johnson, K. L., Freeman, J. B., & Pauker, K. (2012). Race is gendered: How covarying phenotypes and stereotypes bias sex categorization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(1), 116-131.
- Johnson, K. L., & Freeman, J. B. (2010). A “New Look” at person construal: Seeing beyond dominance and discreteness. In E. Balcetis & D. Lassiter (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Visual Perception (pp. 253-272). New York: Psychology Press.
- Johnson, K. L., & Carpinella, C. (forthcoming). Social categorization at the crossroads: Mechanisms by which intersecting social categories bias social perception. To appear in J. Forgas, K. Fiedler, & C. Sedikides (Eds.), Social Thinking and Interpersonal Behavior: Proceedings of the 14th Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology.
- Johnson, K. L., & Iida, M. (forthcoming). Person (mis)perception: On the functional biases that derail construal of others. In K. L. Johnson & M. Shiffrar (Eds.), Perception of the Human Body in Motion: Findings, Theory, and Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Body Language and Nonverbal Communication
- Laboratory in Personality and Social Psychology
- Proximal and Distal Determinants of Perception and Judgment
- Social Vision
2330 Rolfe Hall
Departments of Communication Studies and Psychology
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095
- Phone: (310) 825-4199
- Fax: (646) 283-9956