Colloquium Series: Seeing faces - The patterns that make a face in the human visual system
Dr Colin Palmer of the University of New South Wales
Will speak on
Seeing faces: The patterns that make a face in the human visual system
On Friday 24 September
via Zoom (Please email the Psychology Department for Zoom Link)
The human face is one of the most familiar visual patterns that we encounter. Much can be gleaned from a person’s face – who they are, their age, their emotional state, and their focus of attention. Our visual system is specialized to extract this kind of information, but to engage our ‘social brain’ requires us first to detect social agents in our environment. My research applies techniques from visual psychophysics, including sensory adaptation and computational modelling, to understand the sensory mechanisms that underlie social perception. In this talk, I will focus on recent experiments that examine how our visual system detects faces. I will discuss face pareidolia, the phenomenon of seeing faces in everyday objects, as well as the role of naturalistic illumination in producing the familiar appearance of the human face. These phenomena are revealing about the visual patterns underlying face perception, and how these are adapted to the prevailing sensory environment.