Brown Bag Talk by Dr. Olga Blazhenkova on “Mental Visualization of Missing Information in Upright and Inverted Faces” | 31 Jan 2023, 4pm

Dr. Olga Blazhenkova

Mental Visualization of Missing Information in Upright and Inverted Faces

31 January 2023 (Tuesday), 4pm




Considerable evidence suggests that faces and objects utilize different cognitive processing mechanisms. Face processing is orientation sensitive, while processing of other objects is less susceptible to the effects of inversion. Our research explored the imagination of missing features in upright and inverted faces. Using eye-tracking and performance measures, we examined how people extrapolate missing visual information in cropped face images beyond the edges of a view (boundary extension) as well as in face images with removed facial features (mental filling-in). Boundary extension (BE) a common memory error in which people confidently remember seeing a wider-angle view of the scene than was viewed. The present research demonstrated BE for both, upright and inverted, cropped face images. BE was greater for images cropped in the upper part than for those cropped in the lower part, independent of whether the face was inverted or normally oriented. The examination of oculomotor behavior during the encoding showed that for both, upright and inverted, faces, a greater attention was paid to the upper part of the face. While both ‘eyes’ and ‘mouth’ were the most salient regions, for the upright faces, ‘eyes’ attracted more attention than ‘mouth’; however, for the inverted faces, ‘mouth’ attracted more attention than ‘eyes’. These findings suggest that BE could be affected by attention. Further, we examined mental filling-in in inverted and normally oriented faces with removed facial features, including eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as two-storey houses with removed windows. Participants were asked to perform an imagery task that involved mental visualization of the missing features. The results revealed top-biased gaze for empty face images, both upright and inverted. That is, participants spent more time looking at the top part of the face, irrespective of whether faces were upright or inverted. However, no such bias was observed for house images. 


Olesya Blazhenkova works as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabancı University (Istanbul, Turkey). She received BS & MS in psychology from Moscow State University (Russia), MA in psychology from Rutgers University (USA), completed her PhD in psychology at George Mason University (USA), and worked as postdoctoral research fellow at National University of Singapore (Singapore). Her research interests include visual imagery, memory errors, emotion, and angular vs. curved shape processing.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar