Open Seminar

Vol. 22.

Experimental Psychology of Faces (1): Visualizing Mental Images of Faces

  • Date: 24th January 2020, 17:00-19:00
  • Venue: Ito International Research Center, The University of Tokyo
  • Speaker: Atsunobu Suzuki (Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, The University of Tokyo), Nobuyuki Watanabe (College of Informatics and Human Communication, Kanazawa Institute of Technology)

If you were asked to call to mind the face of a loved one, whether a family member or a friend, you could probably conjure up an image quite easily. But if you were asked to describe that face, it wouldn't be easy to give a verbal description that was readily understood by other people. If shown pictures of different faces and asked, "Which of these people looks more trustworthy?" quite a few people would answer the question instantly. It is believed that this is because people have an intuitive mental image of a "trustworthy face." On the other hand, if asked, "Why do you think this person is more trustworthy?" it would probably be difficult to answer immediately.

In this seminar, we will introduce an aspect of experimental psychological research related to "mental images of faces." First, Professor Nobuyuki Watanabe will speak about police investigations that attempt to reproduce, through communication, the facial images in witnesses' memories. Next, Atsunobu Suzuki of the University of Tokyo (the organizer of this seminar) will speak about why people make judgements about others' characters and abilities based on their faces, despite such warnings as "Don't judge people by appearances."