When bodies and traits collide: Investigating a “who” system for social cognition

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde: How do I know who you are?

The story of Jekyll and Hyde illuminates a fascinating problem for humans to solve: How do we link together features of a person, such as body shape and personality, in order to understand “who” somebody is? Although Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have the same physical appearance, they have distinctly different traits. The former is a well-respected surgeon who performs operations on anaesthetised patients, whereas the latter is a sadist who performs the same operations on unfortunate non-anaesthetised victims. If we were to observe Jekyll or Hyde at work, it would not be sufficient to only take note of his physical appearance in order to make sense of his identity. Instead, we would need to consider his character and motivations (i.e., surgeon or sadist) in order to appreciate his real identity. The key aim of this project was to examine the brain systems that link physical features of a person with their traits.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/01/1331/12/16