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  Understanding the effect of nonverbal behaviours on first impression formation

   School of Psychology

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  Dr Mingyuan Chu, Dr C Sutherland  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Social psychological research has demonstrated that people can form first impressions of others quickly and often quite accurately. However, most previous research has focused on first impression formation from static facial stimuli (photographs) without fully considering the impact of nonverbal behaviours (e.g., the way in which people move, talk, and gesture). Nonverbal behaviour is an integral component of how we communicate our thoughts and intentions to others. Thus, it could play a crucial in the formation of first impressions. The goal of the current project is to understand how various nonverbal behaviours, such as facial expression, head movement, eye movement, body language, pitch and volume of voice, speech rate and prosodic feature, can affect the first impressions (e.g., trustworthiness, attractiveness, and dominance). The project will also investigate how individual differences and cross-cultural differences in the use of nonverbal behaviours can affect the first impression formation during face-to-face communication.

Full training on relevant skills and techniques will be provided. The PhD researcher will have access to a large volunteer participant panel and well-equipped labs for behavioural, neurophysiology, and eye-tracking studies.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor

• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding

• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)

• Detailed CV

• Details of 2 academic referees

Essential Background - 2:1 or higher first degree and a Masters degree in psychology or related subjects

Informal inquiries can be made to Mingyuan Chu ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the [Email Address Removed]

Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This PhD project has no funding attached and is therefore available to students (UK/International) who are able to seek their own funding or sponsorship. Supervisors will not be able to respond to requests to source funding.


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(1), 519–545.

Where will I study?