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Android and chimp facing each other.
Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni
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Psychology PhD students present workshop at the Photographers' Gallery

Event explores how the human body measures and perceives faces

by George Wigmore

PhD students from the Department of Psychology at City, University of London hosted a workshop at the Photographers' Gallery in London last weekend to explore how the human body measures and perceives faces.

In a series of demonstrations by Federica Biotti, Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni, and Alex Galvez-Pol, the researchers used a range of scientific technologies including eye trackers, an EEG cap and a yawning android to show visitors the different methods used by the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit at City to ask such questions around how the human body and perception when it comes to faces.

The three PhD students each focused on a different but overlapping piece of work.

Alex artworkFederica Biotti, who is researching face blindness - which is also known as diagnosing Developmental Prosopagnosia - spoke about the condition and how we can diagnose it. As part of the workshop Federica ran some tests that she uses when diagnosing faceblindness during the workshop.

Federica also spoke as part in a discussion panel about face processing and face recognition in the digital era entitled 'Sliding into a face: the basis of face perception in humans'.

At the event, Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni spoke about how Human Action Perception - a theory about how people perceive their environment and events - differs from that of animals such as chimpanzees, and how blind individuals, perceive others’ actions.

As part of this Ramiro developed an android, as one of a series of tools used by blind individuals and stroke victims to train, rehabilitate and regain control of their own facial expressions, and to aid interpretation of others’ facial gestures and actions.

In addition, Alex Galvez-Pol exhibited EEG caps (Electroencephalogram caps with electrodes to measure brain activity), as well as some slides and videos showing the process of acquiring, analysing, and interpreting such data.

Speaking about the day, Federica Biotti, said:

“The exhibition was a great success and it provided a wonderful space to not only discuss our research but also the intersection of science and art, which can be seen in a number of pieces of work we have developed. We hope to continue exploring these ideas and inspiring others to ask questions about how we as humans measure and perceive faces, something which is a huge part of our everyday lives.”

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