Dr Miles Tufft — UCL
Behaviours and their associated cognitive mechanisms do not exist in isolation, rather they are embedded in a world that is naturally social, and rich in context. By experimentally recreating minimal social contexts, while maintaining an acceptable degree of control, I investigate how higher order social factors such as social hierarchy, interpersonal synchrony, and group membership come to meaningfully shape implicit cognitive mechanisms. With examples from my recent studies, using the picture-word interference and spatial cuing paradigms, I will describe the online methods we have used to reveal how social contexts afford the offloading or suppression of task-irrelevant, distracting information (social offloading) in ways that are sensitively attuned to the social characteristics of dyadic interactions. In doing so, I aim to share learnings on what is possible when using online experimental platforms for social cognition research, as well as offering insights on the quality and reliability of collecting online chronometric data by comparing lab-based versus online studies. I finish by emphasising the importance of re-worlding participants in meaningful contexts to reveal the embeddedness of behaviour.