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AISB event Bulletin Item

WHITEHEAD LECTURE, "How people look at faces differently ", Tue 15 March, Goldsmith's College - Watanabe.pdf
Contact: Karina Linell,

6th Whitehead lecture of Spring term 2011 by Katsumi Watanabe, Associate Professor of Cognitive Science, Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo, Japan, at 4pm in the New Academic Building (NAB) LG01

ABSTRACT: Facial processing is considered to be one of the fundamental visual processes necessary 
for successful social interaction. It has therefore been assumed that face processing is largely 
universal among humans. However, recent studies have accumulated to challenge the idea of strictly
universal facial processing. In this talk, I will present two on-going studies on real- and 
artificial-face processing from our laboratory. One study concerns eye movements during face 
observation in Japanese deaf people. We found differential fixation patterns between deaf and 
hearing people. The other study examines how people perceive and evaluate ambiguous faces of 
statues depicting Buddha (the Thousand Armed Kannon at the Hall of the Lotus King, a.k.a. 
Sanjsangend, Kyoto, Japan). This study found several differences between Japanese and American 
observers in emotion and affective evaluations of the faces of Buddha statues. These results 
suggest that face processing and related mechanisms are not homogenous but can be influenced by 

BRIEF BIO: Katsumi Watanabe is Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Tokyo.
He received his PhD in Computation and Neural Systems from California Institute of Technology, in 
2001, for his work in cross-modal interaction in humans. He was a research fellow at the National 
Institute of Health (USA) and a researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Science and 
Technology (Japan). His research interests include: scientific investigations of explicit and 
implicit processes, interdisciplinary approaches to cognitive science, and real-life applications 
of cognitive science.