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Research and Publications

The Lab


Stats Questions?
The West Interpersonal Perception Lab
 New York University, Department of Social Psychology
 Tessa V. West
Welcome to the West Interpersonal Perception Lab!

In the West Interpersonal Perception Lab, we apply modern methods and approaches to classic interpersonal perception questions. By analyzing dyadic- and group-level interactions, we can explore basic perception questions such as how accurate and biased perceivers are and whether perceivers can be both accurate and biased at the same time. To capture the dynamic interaction between the self and others as found in the real world, much of our work focuses on cross-race interactions (i.e., interactions between Whites and ethnic minorities).

Interpreting Behavior

During social interactions, what factors influence how we interpret others’ behaviors?

To what extent do our goals and motivations lead us to “see” in others what we want, or expect, to see?


We are particularly interested in understanding how goals, motivations, and expectations influence the meanings that we attach to an interaction partner’s behaviors. We are currently examining whether we can alter subjects’ goals and motivations to facilitate rapport-building in the context of getting acquainted cross-race interactions. For example, several of our ongoing studies address the question: Can we lead perceivers to “see” their partners in ways that are inconsistent with reality?

Coordination and Performance

How can interpersonal perception processes influence behavioral coordination between two or more individuals at the initial stages of an interaction?

How does behavioral coordination change over time, and how do the factors of race and power influence this change?


By bridging the fields of interpersonal perception and behavioral coordination, we are developing a line of research on improving dyad and group-level performance in contexts that require individuals to coordinate their behaviors. We are currently developing methods of improving dyadic and group-level outcomes in racially heterogeneous dyads and teams. We are examining these processes in experimental one-time-only interactions, as well as within real teams over the course of several months.

To get a feel for how we study these questions in our lab, click on the
Video lab link.

Copyright (c) Tessa West, 2010
Website by Lindy Gullett