Research related to the rise of the selfie will be featured when Jim Tanaka, a perceptual psychologist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, presents “The Selfie Generation: The psychology and neuroscience of own-face recognition” at Otterbein University.

The free public lecture will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in Riley Auditorium at the Battelle Fine Arts Center, 170 W. Park St., with a reception afterward in the lobby.

Cindy Laurie-Rose, a professor of psychology at Otterbein, said attendees should expect an engaging lecture filled with scientific research.

“I expect that professor Tanaka will explain the essential role of face perception in our lives,” she said. “Faces carry more information than the shape and placement of our eyes, noses and mouths; they convey information essential for social communication.

“We will learn about how we recognize ourselves and others, drawing on entertaining research into self-awareness in both infants and animals,” Laurie-Rose said.

She said Tanaka promises to speculate on the way selfies influence a person’s self-perception.

Jennifer Hill, Otterbein’s director of marketing and communications, said Tanaka would present and critique the psychological and brain research, investigating the special status of own face recognition.

She said the talk also would address the infant and animal research that employs self-recognition as a marker of consciousness and self-awareness.

Hill said Tanaka’s remarks also would speculate how social media and the proliferation of selfies might influence a person’s sense of self and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Much of Tanaka’s research has focused on face expertise or how people learn to recognize others, Laurie-Rose said.

“He has applied his research to help children with autism, who often have difficulty with facial recognition, to learn how to discriminate faces,” she said.

Hill said Tanaka would share groundbreaking research in the field of cognitive and neurological processes underlying object and face recognition.

He has devoted much of his career toward understanding the processes of face recognition in people on the autism spectrum, according to Hill.

Tanaka’s lecture is being presented by the George W. and Mildred K. White Science Lecture Series that sponsors annual scientific seminars, bringing national leaders in science and technology to campus.

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