Ever since graduate school I have been deeply in interested in social perception and social explanation. The basic idea that has long driven this work is that social perception is very much like understanding a story where, as we read the story, we build a more and more detailed mental model or mental structure of the characters and events, and the motivation and personality of the characters.  In order to build these mental models or narrative structures we draw on a rich body of knowledge that we have developed over our years, and we use constraint satisfaction processes to fit these pieces of knowledge together into a coherent representation.

In various papers over the years, we have laid out a theory of the Knowledge Structures that we draw upon and how those are used.  We have then developed neural network models of how these knowledge structures are integrated into a coherent model, using constraint satisfaction processes.


Iterative Reprocessing of Evaluation

We also published on a paper on a neural network model implementation of Cunningham and Zelazo’s Iterative Reprocessing Model, which argues that evaluative processing is not the result of a dual process model, but rather is the result of the iterative reprocessing of information over time as activation spreads through the brain.

  • Ehret, Monroe, & Read (2015??)


Threat Perception

We are also currently working on a neural network model of David March’s DIP(Dual Implicit Process) model of Threat Perception and are using it to better explicate the cognitive mechanisms behind Correll’s Shooter task and Payne’s Weapon Identification Task.


Spontaneous Trait Inferences 

As part of our interest in Person Perception, we have long been interested in the processing mechanisms for Spontaneous Trait Inferences and have outlined how these processes could be understood in terms of our neural network model of social perception.  However, we have never built an explicit computational implementation of that process.  But recently we have begun working on a neural network implementation of a model of how Spontaneous Trait Inferences are processed (STIs) and how STIs may be updated on the basis of new information.


Event Perception

We have recently started looking more deeply at the role of event segmentation in event perception and social perception. This work draws on work by Darren Newtson and Jeffrey Zacks.



Read, S. J., & Stephan, W. G. (1979). An integration of Kelley’s attribution cube and Weiner’s achievement attribution model.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 5, 196-200.

Read, S. J. (1983). Once is enough: Causal reasoning from a single instance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 323-334.

Read, S. J. (1984).  Analogical reasoning in social judgment: The importance of causal theories.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 14-25.

Read, S. J. (1987).  Constructing causal scenarios: A knowledge structure approach to causal reasoning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 288-302.

Read, S. J. (1987).  Similarity and causality in the use of social analogies. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 23, 189-207.

Read, S. J. (1988). Conjunctive explanations: The effect of a comparison between a chosen and a nonchosen alternative.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 24, 146-162.

Read, S. J., Druian, P., & Miller, L. C. (1989). The role of causal sequence in the meaning of actions.  British Journal of Social Psychology,  28, 341-351.

Read, S. J., Jones, D. K., & Miller, L. C. (1990). Traits as goal-based categories: The importance of goals in the coherence of dispositional categories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1048-1061.

Read, S. J., Miller, L. C., & Jones, D. K. (1990).  Goals in the conceptual coherence of social categories.  Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 28, 261-267.

Read, S. J. & Cesa, I. (1991). This reminds me of the time when…: Expectation failures in reminding and explanation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 27, 1-25.

Read, S. J., & Marcus-Newhall, A. R. (1993).  Explanatory coherence in social explanations: A parallel distributed processing account. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 429-447.

Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (1993). Rapist or “regular guy”: Explanatory coherence in the construction of mental models of others.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 526-540.

Read, S. J., Vanman, E. J., & Miller, L. C. (1997).  Connectionism, Parallel Constraint Satisfaction Processes and Gestalt Principles: (Re) Introducing Cognitive Dynamics to Social Psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1, 26-53.

Read, S. J., & Montoya, J. A. (1999). An autoassociative model of causal learning and causal reasoning.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 728-742.

Yang, Y., Read, S. J., Denson, T. F., Xu, Y., Zhang, J., & Pedersen, W. C. (2014). The key ingredients of personality traits: Situations, behaviors, and explanations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(1), 79-91.

Ehret, P. J., Monroe, B. M., & Read, S. J. (2015). Modeling the Dynamics of Evaluation: A Multilevel Neural Network Implementation of the Iterative Reprocessing Model.  Personality and Social Psychology Review, 19(2), 148-176.



Black, J. B., Galambos, J. A., & Read, S. J. (1984).  Comprehending stories and social situations. In R. S. Wyer & T. K. Srull (Eds.), Handbook of social cognition. Hillsdale, NJ:  Erlbaum.

Miller, L. C., & Read, S. J. (1991). On the coherence of mental models of persons and relationships: A knowledge structure approach.  In G. J. O. Fletcher & F. Fincham (Eds.), Cognition in Close Relationships. (pp. 69-99).  Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Read, S. J., & Collins, N. L. (1992).  Accounting for relationships: A knowledge structure approach.  In J. Harvey, T. Orbuch, & A. Weber (Eds.), Attribution, Accounts and Close Relationships. (p. 116-143).  New York:  Springer-Verlag.

Read, S. J. (1992). Constructing accounts: The role of explanatory coherence.  In M. L. McLaughlin, M. J. Cody, & S. J. Read (Eds.), Explaining one’s self to others. (p. 3 – 19).  Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.



McLaughlin, M. J., Cody, M. J., & Read, S. J. (Eds.) (1992). Explaining one’s self to others.  Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.