The neural dynamics of updating person impressions

Peter Mende-Siedlecki, Yang Cai, Alexander Todorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Person perception is a dynamic, evolving process. Because other people are an endless source of social information, people need to update their impressions of others based upon new information. We devised an fMRI study to identify brain regions involved in updating impressions. Participants saw faces paired with valenced behavioral information and were asked to form impressions of these individuals. Each face was seen five times in a row, each time with a different behavioral description. Critically, for half of the faces the behaviors were evaluatively consistent, while for the other half they were inconsistent. In line with prior work, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) was associated with forming impressions of individuals based on behavioral information. More importantly, a whole-brain analysis revealed a network of other regions associated with updating impressions of individuals who exhibited evaluatively inconsistent behaviors, including rostrolateral PFC, superior temporal sulcus, right inferior parietal lobule and posterior cingulate cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-631
Number of pages9
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Impression formation
  • Person perception
  • Social cognition
  • dmPFC
  • fMRI
  • lPFC


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