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Outreach project looks at how brain works

Credit: Perception Lab, University of St Andrews.
Which of these faces looks more masculine?

Researchers at the University of St Andrews are to examine the way in which we see faces as part of an outreach project this week.

Scientists working in the School of Psychology will demonstrate biases in the way in which people perceive faces as part of a Brain Day for Secondary School Students on March 18th 2009.

The team of academics, which comprises Vinet Coetzee, Ian Stephen, Michael Stirrat and Tamsin Saxton, will lead interactive and practical workshops for local pupils.

Professor Dave Perrett, Head of the Perception Laboratory, explained, “With this set of images, the question is to choose which you think looks more masculine.

“Most people, over 90% choose the lower image of the pair.  This tells the psychologists that for most people face processing is a task conducted in the right side of the brain.

“Anyone choosing the top image as more masculine may have a more unusual left brain bias in processing.”

The “Brain Day” day on Wednesday 18th March is aimed at S4 and S5 pupils who show ability in science subjects.

Vicky Torrance, organiser of the event, from WHAN Fife (Working in Health Access Network) said, “We’re keen to engage local secondary children with research in science and raise their awareness of careers in Psychology, Neuroscience and Mental Health.”

Harriet Johnston, PhD research student from the School of Psychology, added, “This will be a really hands on day with interactive workshops and sessions looking at brain waves and brain anatomy. The pupils also will go home with prizes.”

Other workshops were given by Dr Jamie Ainge, Ines Jentzsch and Chelan Weaver on brain anatomy.

Thirty-six pupils from Beath (Cowdenbeath), Buckhaven (Leven), Auchmuty (Glenrothes), St Andrews RC (Kirkcaldy) and Bell Baxter (Cupar) High Schools are involved in the day.

“Brain Day” takes place on Wednesday 18th March as part of Brain Awareness Week.

ENDS

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 467227, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: fa12@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  Brain Day 180309
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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