The role of visual processes in modulating social interactions
It is now recognized that visual processes modulate many social interactions. For example, the eye gaze of another person is a powerful cue to guide attention to a particular part of the visual field. Conversely, a direct gaze may indicate potential threat or the opportunity for a sexual encounter. In addition, the social or affective significance of a stimulus, as well as the mood state of the observer, can have profound effects on basic attentional and perceptual processes. This special issue is aimed at elucidating the role of visual processes in social interactions by linking work on the basic cognitive mechanisms mediating vision with work on the social and emotional context in which the processing takes place. This introduction provides a brief overview and then summarizes the papers making up the special issue and attempts to place them in a wider theoretical framework. © 2005 Psychology Press Ltd.