Tag Archives: ScienceNetwork WA

Australian study finds evidence suggesting that use of recreational drug ecstasy will damage face perception ability

White, Claire, Edwards, Mark, Brown, John and Bell, Jason The impact of recreational MDMA ‘ecstasy’ use on global form processing. Journal of Psychopharmacology. August 20, 2014

Published online before print August 20, 2014, doi: 10.1177/0269881114546709



Yeang, Lily Ecstasy use affects ability to detect faces, shapes and patterns. ScienceNetwork Western Australia.



One should bear in mind that this study only used a small number of long-term ecstasy users as subjects (6) and these people also used other drugs, which could have had an influence, and it appears that actual faces or images of faces were not a part of the study, which tested the type of visual processing of which face processing is apparently one example. The full text of the study is behind a paywall, so I’ve not yet read it in full. The study is certainly interesting, as it displays internal consistency in the findings which are also apparently compatible with the findings of other studies.

This study is just another good reason why the testing of visual processing, including abilities such as face memory and global form processing, should ideally be an element of the job recruitment selection process for many jobs. “If global form processing is damaged or deficient then our speed and accuracy in recognizing objects in the environment, and our ability to navigate amongst those objects, will be impaired.” So does that mean that long-term ecstasy users aren’t OK to operate heavy machinery or to drive? I think it is anyone’s guess, and there is no law enforcement or job screening process that I am aware of that is likely to detect people with this kind of visual processing disability, until they have a crash. If you know otherwise, please leave a comment and we we’ll all be the wiser.

University of Western Australia researchers’ model of face gender published in PLoS ONE

Garland, Carys Face ‘model’ accurately weighs gender points. ScienceNetwork WA. July 6th 2014.


The mathematical model of face gender that these UWA researchers have come up with seems like a sensible enough idea to me (and who am I to criticise?) but I’m very doubtful of just about everything stated about face gender and its relation to autism that is written in the Science Network article.

Gilani SZ, Rooney K, Shafait F, Walters M, Mian A (2014) Geometric Facial Gender Scoring: Objectivity of Perception. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99483. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099483


UWA seminar on Tuesday could be interesting

“In this seminar, I will present data on three inter-related aspects of attentional focusing: the spatiotemporal dynamics of focusing, object representations and their role in focusing, and the consequences of focusing on visual processing.”

I’m quite interested in visual processing, although I’m not a professional researcher in psychology. I’m not a professional researcher in anything at all. I don’t get paid, I think in my own time. If I were to follow the current zeitgeist I’d be playing sport instead of thinking (Australia has a federal minister for sport but none for science I believe), but I’m not one to follow trends.

The speaker of this upcoming seminar at UWA is Dr. Lisa Jefferies. Unless I am mistaken, another area of research that she has explored is face perception, but there is no hint that face perception will be covered in this seminar.

To be (broad) or not to be (broad): The dynamics of attentional focusing. Science Network Western Australia. http://www.sciencewa.net.au/component/ohanah/to-be-broad-or-not-to-be-broad-the-dynamics-of-attentional-focusing.html

Lisa Jefferies http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~ennslab/Vision_Lab/Lisa_Jefferies.html

Colloquium:  To be (broad) or not to be (broad).  http://events.uwa.edu.au/event/20130910T045244Z-2131-4946@events.uwa.edu.au/whatson/Faculty%20of%20Education