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Psychology

Multisensory Communication: How do people combine the information from the eyes and ears?

Professor

Akihiro TANAKA, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology


Why

When you are talking with another person, you can perceive the emotional state of that person from their face and voice. If they are smiling, you perceive happiness. But what happens if their face expresses happiness and their voice expresses anger?

How

We conducted a series of cross-cultural experiments on how people combine the information from faces and voices, and how the manner is different between Japanese and Western peoples.

Findings

What we found is that Westerners read faces while Japanese read voices. This is the first evidence that culture modulates how humans combine information from the eyes and ears (Tanaka et al., 2010, Psychological Science).


Professor

Akihiro TANAKA, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

My research focuses on the cognitive basis of our communication. Specifically, using behavioral and neuroimaging techniques, I aim to uncover how verbal and nonverbal information from different sensory modalities (e.g., face, voice, and body) are combined.