Exploring the Role of Working Memory in Dynamic Social Cue Decoding Using Dual Task Methodology

Louise H. Phillips, Mary Tunstall, Shelley Channon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Decoding nonverbal social cues involves skills such as understanding emotions and discerning kin relationships. Social cue decoding has been described as an automatic process which does not tax cognitive resources. However, clinical deficits in social decoding are often interpreted in terms of deficits in attention and working memory. Two experiments are described which used dual task methodology to investigate the role of working memory in dynamic social cue decoding tasks: the Interpersonal Perception Task (IPT, Experiment 1) and the Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity (PONS, Experiment 2). Results revealed that decoding social cues from the IPT did not require working memory resources, while social perception in the PONS made heavy demands on working memory. Implications for theoretical interpretation of these tasks and their use in clinical populations are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Nonverbal Behavior
Issue number2
Early online date10 Mar 2007
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • attention
  • nonverbal
  • social cue decoding
  • working memory
  • interpersonal perception task
  • expressive behavior
  • executive function
  • affect recognition
  • prefrontal cortex
  • schizophrenia
  • impairment
  • accuracy
  • mind
  • metaanalysis


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