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  • Peter Mende-Siedlecki, Assistant Professor

    Assistant Professor
    University of Delaware
    305 McKinly Lab
    Newark, DE 19716


    Other people are boundless sources of social information. We form impressions based on their appearances, their faults, their virtues, and their preferences -- and we can do so based upon incredibly thin slices of experience, often with far-reaching downstream consequences. However, thin-slices don't always tell the whole story and expectations are often violated. Even basic perceptual evaluations may be subject to top-down influences: the same smile on the face of a friend may convey a much different message on the face of a foe. As such, our impressions are continuously revised and recontextualized in light of multiple channels of social information. My work takes a multi-level approach to uncover the social cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie how we dynamically perceive, evaluate, and understand other people, leveraging theory and methods from cognitive neuroscience, experimental social psychology, perceptual psychophysics, and computational modeling. 

    Specifically, my research addresses two broad sets of questions: 1) How do we change our minds about other people based on their behavior? For example, what kinds of information are most likely to cause us to "update" our impressions, and how are these updates represented neurally? Further, how is updating shaped by bottom-up (e.g., distributions of behavior in the environment) and top-down factors (e.g., group membership)? 2) How do the groups to which we belong influence the way we see other people? For example, how are our inferences of mental agency, trustworthiness, and the experience of physical pain shaped by group membership? Taken together, this work offers insights into the dynamic social and affective processes supporting our perceptions and impressions of others. By extension, this research provides a framework for understanding societal-level phenomena, including intergroup bias and conflict, with connections to affective science, moral psychology, and health and social policy.


    ​Ph.D., Princeton University 

    Courses Regularly Taught

    ​PSYC207 Research Methods

    Recent Publications

    ​Dr. Mende-Siedlecki's Google Scholar profile​

    Mende-Siedlecki, P. & Todorov, A. (in press). Neural dissociations between meaningful and mere inconsistency in impression updating. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

    Van Bavel, J.J., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Brady, W.J., & Reinero, D.A. (in press). Rely to Inbar: Contextual sensitivity helps explain the reproducibility gap between social and cognitive psychology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Van Bavel, J.J., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Brady, W.J., & Reinero, D.A. (2016). Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(23), 6454-6459.

    Ferrari, C., Lega, C., Vernice, M., Tamietto, M., Mende-Siedlecki, P., Vecchi, T., Todorov, A., & Cattaneo, Z. (2016). The dorsomedial prefrontal cortex plays a causal role in integrating social impressions from faces and verbal descriptions. Cerebral Cortex, 1, 156-165.

    Van Bavel, J.J., FeldmanHall, O., & Mende-Siedlecki, P. (2015). The neural dynamics of moral cognition. Current Opinions in Psychology. 6, 167–172.

    Mende-Siedlecki, P. & Todorov, A. (2015). Trust perception. In: Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference, A.W. Toga & R.A. Poldrack (Eds.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. 

    Todorov, A., Olivola, C.Y., Dotsch, R., & Mende-Siedlecki, P. (2015). Social attributions from faces: determinants, consequences, accuracy, and functional significance. Annual Review of Psychology, 66, 519-545.

    Representative Publications

    Mende-Siedlecki, P. & Todorov, A. (in press). Neural dissociations between meaningful and mere inconsistency in impression updating. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

    Mende-Siedlecki, P., & Todorov, A. (2014). The role of the amygdala in face processing. In The Cognitive Neurosciences V, M. Gazzaniga & G. R. Mangun (Eds.). Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Mende-Siedlecki, P., Baron, S., & Todorov, A. (2013). Diagnostic value underlies asymmetric updating of impressions in the morality and ability domains. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(50), 19406-19415.

    Mende-Siedlecki, P., Verosky, S., Turk-Browne, N.T., & Todorov, A. (2013). Robust selectivity for faces in the human amygdala in the absence of expressions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(12), 2086-2106.

    Mende-Siedlecki, P., Cai, Y., & Todorov, A. (2013) The neural dynamics of updating impressions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8, 623-631.​

    Mende-Siedlecki, P., Said, C., & Todorov, A. (2013). The social evaluation of faces: a meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8, 285-299. 





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