Prof. Leyla Isik ft. in Arts & Sciences Weekly

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Another great feature on one of our faculty appeared in the in the Arts & Sciences Weekly e-newsletter. Get to know Prof. Leyla Isik better here…

Leyla Isik, Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor in the Department of Cognitive Science.

Describe your primary research or  scholarship, and  tell us what is most exciting about your current project.  

Humans perceive the world in rich social detail. In just a fraction of a second, we not only detect objects and faces in our environment, but also quickly recognize people’s emotions, goals, actions, and social interactions. Detecting these high-level properties is extremely challenging even for state-of-the-art computer vision systems. Our research aims to understand how humans effortlessly extract social information from visual input, using a combination of human neuroimaging, behavior, and artificial intelligence.   

Most current research in our lab focuses on understanding how humans recognize other people’s actions and social interactions using natural stimuli, like movies. I am particularly excited about this line of research because it brings us closer to understanding social vision in real-world scenarios. We hope this will allow us to understand how foundational knowledge from controlled lab studies replicates in more ecologically valid contexts, and to uncover new dimensions of social vision that are not possible to capture with simple experiments.  

Share a best practice or tip for successful teaching or mentoring. 

In teaching and mentoring, I try to normalize not knowing all the answers. I think it’s important for students to see we are all still learning, and to not be embarrassed or shy about what they don’t know.  

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Outside of work I like to run, hike, and play with my 2-year-old.