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Annual CPCN Workshop

Annual CPCN Workshop
Social Sciences Building, Room s402
10:00am Thursday, 1st December 2011
5:00pm Friday, 2nd December 2011

The UQ Centre for Perception & Cognitive Neuroscience will be hosting its annual workshop, 1st - 2nd December, 2011.

A preliminary Workshop Booklet, with Talk titles and abstracts, is now available from the Workshop Website:

In addition to talks from UQ Psychology staff and students, talks will be given by members of the local research community and invited keynote addresses will be given by Associate Professor Elinor McKone (Department of Psychology, ANU, Australia) and Associate Professor David Whitney (Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkley USA).

Assoc. Professor Elinor McKone

Special visual representation of faces in adults and children: What are the roles of nature and nurture?

The ability to recognise other people from their faces is crucial to normal social interaction. Most humans are remarkably skilled at this task, yet, from a computational perspective, discriminating an individual face's identity over image changes in viewpoint, lighting and expression is a very difficult problem for the visual system to solve. This talk reviews the evidence of a network of specialised cortical regions involved in face recognition, and what is known about the association of different stages of this network with the various cognitive processing mechanisms specialised for faces (including holistic processing and face-space coding). I then discuss the extent to which these face mechanisms, present in typical adults, derive from lifetime experience versus the extent to which they are innate and/or genetically driven. I review recent evidence from childhood development, twin studies, family studies, critical periods, perceptual narrowing (e.g., for other-race faces), and babies without face experience. Overall, I argue that 'nature' plays a strong role in the development of specialised visual representations of faces, and that the tuning of ability by experience primarily occurs only in infancy and early childhood. See: 

Assoc. Professor David Whitney

Crowding: the bottleneck of conscious vision

Everyday experience gives us the impression that our visual world is rich, accurate, and seamless. Objects in our peripheral vision might seem somewhat blurry, but we nonetheless think we know what they are. In fact, this intuition is misleading. At any given time in natural scenes, most of the objects we see are in the visual periphery, and these peripheral objects are crowded-blocked from individual recognition and awareness-because of clutter. Outside the center of our gaze, crowding imposes a fundamental bottleneck on our ability to consciously recognize individual objects. Despite this, we still have the impression of a rich environment across the entire visual field, which is a testament to the usefulness of the information our visual system manages to extract from the periphery, even when individual objects are crowded from recognition. Here, we present three sets of studies on the mechanism of crowding, the scope of its influence, and its development from infancy. First, we show that crowding occurs at multiple, distinct stages of visual processing-from the lowest to the highest levels of visual analysis. We also show that, contrary to the dominantly held view, crowding does not dismantle or destroy object-level information; objects that are unrecognizable in clutter can nonetheless influence the perception of scenes by generating emergent ensemble percepts. Finally, we show the developmental trajectory of crowding from infancy, which reveals how the resolution of conscious perception improves slowly with age. Together, our results help elucidate one of the most essential mechanisms of spatial vision, a mechanism that defines the spatial resolution of conscious vision and mediates our subjective experience of the visual world. See:

There is no registration fee and everyone is welcome, but please contact Dr. Derek Arnold if you plan on attending this event.

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Created: Tuesday, 22nd November 2011 by paulj
Modified: Wednesday, 1st February 2012 by paulj
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