In the mind of the beholder : neural and computational mechanisms underlying perceiver-driven biases in information processing

Placeholder Show Content


Rather than being passive observers, people can be better described as active perceivers of the world around them. Incoming information is not passively taken in, but is selectively filtered and altered by a perceiver's beliefs, goals and motivational states. The current work examines the neural and computational underpinnings of such perceiver-driven biases in information processing. In one study, we combined computational modeling and functional magnetic resonance imaging to provide a mechanistic account of motivational biases in perceptual judgments of ambiguous images. We showed that motivational biases can be dissociated into response and perceptual components, each associated with distinct neural processes. In a second study, we extended our work to a more naturalistic setting with dynamic audio-visual stimuli. We scanned participants watching videos about immigration policy and showed that political attitudes modulated neural responses to the videos. In particular, activity timecourses in the DMPFC was more similar between participants with similar political attitudes, than between participants with opposing political attitudes. Furthermore, the neural divergence between conservative-leaning and liberal-leaning participants was associated with increased use of moral-emotional language. Together, these studies explore the neural processes involved in biasing information processing, and provide illustrative examples of how the tools of cognitive neuroscience allow us to peer into the mind of the beholder.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2019; ©2019
Publication date 2019; 2019
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Leong, Yuan Chang
Degree supervisor Zaki, Jamil, 1980-
Thesis advisor Zaki, Jamil, 1980-
Thesis advisor Gross, James J, (Professor of psychology)
Thesis advisor Poldrack, Russell A
Degree committee member Gross, James J, (Professor of psychology)
Degree committee member Poldrack, Russell A
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Psychology.


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Yuan Chang Leong.
Note Submitted to the Department of Psychology.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2019.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2019 by Yuan Chang Leong
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

Also listed in

Loading usage metrics...