Orit Nafcha

Orit Nafcha is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Haifa. Her research focuses on the influence social context has on our perception and attention and the evolutionary origin of these interactions. Specifically, Orit studies the social inhibition of return (SIOR) effect, which is our tendency to inhibit responses toward locations previously attended by others. This phenomenon represents an automatic evolutionary process, designed to optimize visual search of the environment when working with others. Orit studies the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying this effect and explores whether and how several social aspects (e.g., group affiliation, type of social relationship) modulate it. Moreover, she explores the evolutionary origin of SIOR by studying a basic phylogenetic model, the Archerfish. The Archerfish serve as a useful model thanks to their natural ability to shoot down insects, and their ability to respond, in a laboratory setting, to targets presented on a computer screen. Orit hopes that this study will further expand our knowledge on the effect that social context has on cognitive processes that are usually explored in individual (non-social) settings.