Christopher Thorstenson is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Psychology and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his MS in Color Science from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2017, and his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Rochester in 2019.
His research investigates the role of facial coloration (e.g., blushing, pallor) in social perception. Specifically, he studies the ways in which facial coloration changes during social situations (e.g., emotion), how these color changes are perceived by the visual system, and how people interpret these color changes as social information and use them to inform social evaluations. His ongoing and future research aims to better understand the cognitive structure of facial color-emotion associations, the social functional utility of facial color perception, and the potential for utilizing coloration cues to enhance the expressive capability of social robots and other artificial social agents.