Clara Colombatto

Assistant Professor
Head shot of Dr. Clara Colombatto

BS (Duke), PhD (Yale)

Contact information

Personal website

View my profile on Google Scholar.

Dr. Clara Colombatto's CV

I will be accepting graduate student applications for Fall 2024

Research interests

My research explores various aspects of human perception and cognition at the intersection of vision science, cognitive psychology, and social psychology — with a special focus on the visual roots of social cognition. Using psychophysical paradigms, I have shown how social factors such as others' attention and intentions operate at early foundational levels in visual processing — being extracted in ways that are quick, automatic, and even unconscious. I have also explored how such social cues provide an important foundation for many other aspects of cognition — from memory and time perception to aesthetic preferences, social impressions, and even moral judgments. My current work focuses on how we perceive others' attentiveness (vs. distraction or mind wandering) and confidence (vs. uncertainty or bias), and how these percepts influence our own attention and metacognition. Other interests include perception of non-biological agents (e.g., robots and AI), perception of bodily postures and movements, interpersonal trust, and group decision-making.

Representative publications

  • Colombatto, C., & Scholl, B. J. (2022). Unconscious pupillometry: An effect of ‘attentional contagion’ in the absence of visual awareness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 151, 302–308.
  • Colombatto, C., & Scholl, B. J. (2022). Attending to attention: Reverse correlation reveals how we perceive attentiveness in other people’s faces. Journal of Vision, 22, 3339.
  • Colombatto, C., van Buren, B., & Scholl, B. J. (2021). Hidden intentions: Visual awareness prioritizes perceived attention even without eyes or faces. Cognition, 217, Article 104901, 1–7.
  • Colombatto, C., Chen, Y. -C., & Scholl, B. J. (2020). Gaze deflection reveals how gaze cueing is tuned to extract the mind behind the eyes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117, 19825–19829.

Visit copies of recent papers.

Visit materials, data, and code of recent papers.