Justin Duncan Obtains his Ph. D.

The team at LPVS is proud to announce that Dr. Justin Duncan is officially the first student of the lab to obtain a Ph.D. His thesis, translated as «Visual Information Orientation and its Role in Face Perception», studies the relevance of horizontal spatial information in face perception. Dr. Duncan created, and then used the orientations bubbles method, consisting of isolating orientations to evaluate their role in facial perception, to reach his conclusions. In the following year, he will begin post-doctoral studies in Switzerland with Roberto Caldara, a researcher specialized in visual cognition and social and cultural differences.

Here is a summary of his thesis:

“In the last 10 years, researchers have shown that many aspects of facial perception rely on horizontal spatial information. In this thesis, I answer the following questions: I) What is their role in in facial expression recognition? II) How are they related to treatment of different facial regions? III) Do they explain individual differences in facial recognition ability? IV) Does the cerebral activity asymmetry observed during face perception concord with hemispheric differences in the treatment of these orientations? In order to answer these questions, I developed the orientations bubbles method, allowing me to individually assess each orientation’s contribution in face perception. My first study examines experimental data that shows i) that facial recognition is dependent on the treatment of horizontal information and ii) that the ability to treat horizontal information is predicted by the treatment of the eyes region. In a second study, I show that without a doubt that individuals with higher performance in facial recognition show better use of horizontal facial information. Finally, experimental data collected in the last study shows that the left visual field superiority (faces presented in the left visual field are treated more efficiently than in the right visual field) is associated with a better use of horizontal information in the right hemisphere, better in face perception. Taken together, these studies add weight to the hypothesis according to which the visual system’s capacity to selectively treat facial information contained in horizontal spatial orientations play a crucial role in numerous aspects in the treatment of faces and point toward a psychophysical mechanism from which could emerge the visual expertise found in face perception.” -Justin Duncan, Ph. D.

The LPVS gives its heartfelt congratulations to Justin; We wish you the best during your post-doc over in Switzerland.

We thank you for the amazing years you have spent alongside us!

-The team at LPVS