Looking far into the future…..

I can predict that a fascinating paper about the development of face and body recognition abilities in children will be published in a journal in September of this year.

Face and body recognition show similar improvement during childhood.
Samantha Bank, Gillian Rhodes, Ainsley Read, Linda Jeffery,
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Received 19 December 2014, Available online 20 April 2015

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Volume 137 September 2015, Pages 1–11.


Don’t confuse poor face memory with aphasia

I know this fascinating article is from 2013, but it makes such an important point about face recognition that I want to bring it to your attention, if you weren’t already aware of it. The ability to remember a person’s face is a different ability than the ability to name the person the face belongs to. These abilities are evidently processed in different areas of the brain. Unfortunately, there is no direct link to the journal paper this article summarizes, so I cannot quickly determine whether the test using the faces of famous people is the same as the “Famous Faces” test that I have previously mentioned at this blog (and done myself). It does sound similar to one of the tests offered here, free of charge: https://www.testmybrain.org/

Famous faces to help spot early dementia.
Anna Salleh ABC. 13 August 2013.


More interesting stuff about “the dress”

I’m a little bit relieved to find that as a person who saw the colours exactly as they are in the photo, I’m not the only person who percieved the colours of “the dress” in such a straighforward and rational way. I’m a member of the third-most common group of people, a minority (?!?) of around 10% of people. The smallest minority of respondents are classified as “other”. We can only guess what these people saw, and what they were on.

“I think it will go down as one of the most important discoveries in color vision in the last 10 years,” Conway says. “And all because of a crazy photograph.” I think it just goes to prove that there’s more new scientific discoveries out there to be made than we can guess, and those discoveries can originate from people who are not scientists and human activities that are far removed from academia and science labs. I love it.

The Dress divided the Internet, but it’s really about subtraction. RACHEL EHRENBERG

ScienceNews. MAY 14, 2015.

Striking individual differences in color perception uncovered by ‘the dress’ photograph. Rosa Lafer-Sousa, Katherine L. Hermann, Bevil R. Conway

Current Biology. Available online 14 May 2015.

The many colours of ‘the dress’. Karl R. Gegenfurtner , Marina Bloj, Matteo Toscani

Current Biology. Available online 14 May 2015.

Asymmetries in blue–yellow color perception and in the color of ‘the dress’. Alissa D. Winkler, Lothar Spillmann, John S. Werner, Michael A. Webster

Current Biology. Available online 14 May 2015.

What colour is the dress? Here’s why we disagree. Michael Slezak

New Scientist. 27 February 2015.

More pareidolia viewing the world of plants and fungi


Some music clips featuring personified objects

Reflections by Django Django

How could anyone listen to these vocals and not see colours? Sounds like the Dandys, don’t you think?


Fish Heads by Barnes and Barnes

This was one of the clips shown on Rage when Noel Fielding was the host. I didn’t get much sleep that night. We can always rely of Fielding for a good dose of psychedelic nonsense. Don’t be afraid of the fish at the seafood counter, little girl. They aren’t alive.

That’s odd. Both musical groups have names that are the same thing repeated twice. I guess there’s a lot of repetition in psychedelia.

The same face? The same young lady?

Face recognition, face identification, face matching, call it whatever you like, the question of whether some photographs are records of the same face (at different ages) is central to solving a long-argued and fascinating mystery about the famous author Lewis Carroll. My first impression, as a super-recognizer, is that the mystery photo is of the same young lady. As a super-recognizer I look at the whole face and feel whether it is the same person whose face I have already become familiar with. As a logical person who who understands that a proper investigation involves looking for any evidence that potentially could disprove a proposition, I would like to spend more time looking individually at all of the facial and body features in two photos to see if they match or have clear differences that cannot be explained by the effects of age or other possible alteration, just as the people do in this documentary.


Viewing trainsmashes

I’ve been disappointed but not surprised to find that the reviewer of the peer-reviewed neuroscience journal paper that failed to recognize my priority in regard to the main hypothesis of that paper, which was published in 2013 and which I believe constitutes plagiarism of two of my highly original ideas about the immune system and synaesthesia that I published at the blog in 2012, will be hosting the 11th Annual Conference of the American Synesthesia Association in 2015. I’m not that surprised because one of the co-authors of the contentious paper had been a star of synaesthesia research, a leader in professional activities such as conferences and was one of two editors of the major textbook on the subject of synaesthesia.

Sometimes my friends ask me why I’m not working at some university. I’m clearly very interested in neuroscience and psychology and they think I’m smart. I do have an applied science degree and I have also studied psychology at the university that has been regarded as Western Australia’s most prestigious (UWA), achieving some passes with distinction and higher distinction. But unfortunately I don’t have endless time and money to pursue further study, and to be honest, I don’t think the world of academia is a place that I’d want to be too much a part of. I’ve been concerned by the unfortunate events this month at UWA regarding former WA Scientist of the Year Professor Jorg Imberger, the now-defunct Centre for Water Research, Professor Ian Dadour, the UWA’s Centre for Forensic Science, and like many Australians I’ve been stunned and amazed in a bad way by the controversy over the Abbott government’s idea to bring the controversial “climate contrarian” Bjorn Lomborg to Perth to establish a $4 million “think tank” that UWA’s business school. Local, national and international press are reporting claims and leaks and counter-claims about whose idea the centre was; the federal government or UWA administrators. I’m sure there are many people working at UWA who are unhappy about recent events, because I know that some of the lecturers who made my time as a student at UWA wonderful and very worthwhile are still listed as staff. I blanch when I open the paper and read about recent events at the university that I once studied at and held in high regard, and when I look at the world of synaesthesia research, an area of science that has fascinated me for many years, I see academic leaders who have played central roles in what I believe is an astounding case of scientific plagiarism. Do I want to be a part of that? I don’t think I do.

Postscript May 2015

The plan the establish an Australia Consensus Centre at UWA has been cancelled, a wise decision.


For important people only

I’ve just discovered the details of this “by invitation only” workshop that was scheduled for February past. I’m guessing the subject of the event was the Perth face-space project, which I have written about previously, but the description of the event seems deliberately vague.




Make no mistake

Occupational Therapy and neuroscience are not the same thing, and I find it pretty annoying when the former is presented in a way that makes it look like some kind of science that I or anyone should take seriously. Don’t waste my time. For heaven’s sake, there’s enough nonsense, hype and shoddy work in neuroscience as it is.

Another computer algorithm created to perform a face perception task that any person can do without even thinking

Wenz, John This Algorithm Guesses Your Biological Age Just by Scanning Your Face. Popular Mechanics. April 1st 2015.


“For example, if a person appears to be considerably older than they really are, a doctor might look for something to explain that, whether it’s a genetic disorder or a lifestyle issue.”

I do not doubt the link between appearance of facial aging and genetic syndromes or drug addiction as I personally know of some real-life examples of both, and I don’t doubt that a good doctor should look for this in facial appearance and make appropriate investigations, but I do question why any doctor with normal eyesight and face perception would need a computer to do this, and I also question whether under the current “5 minute medicine” model of general practice in Australia, most doctors would have the time or the inclination to enquire about apparent accelerated physical aging in a patient.

I know of quite a long list of things that might accelerate the appearance of aging in the face, including at least one genetic disorder (I know of one family but do not know exactly which disorder), a drug addict lifestyle, smoking (which apparently destroys some vitamin and thus exposes cells to extra stress), and poorly controlled diabetes. There are probably many more things that can have this effect. Ask your doctor.



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