Thursday, August 14, 2014

One day left.....

Ok.... So today is the last day to prepare for our presentations, and we are getting nervous! We seemed to have done well in today's dry run and do not have all that much to edit- just a few graphs and some punctuation. Wish us luck tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Our presentation is going to be fantastic! At least I hope it will be. Dr. Herbert stopped by and helped work on our excel graphs, as well as outline some of the things that we should say in order to get the most out of our 20ish minute time slot. Unfortunately, we discovered that there was a slight glitch in the program we were using, but no matter, its all better now and ready to roll.

As excited I am though, I most definitely CAN wait to present in front of a room full of people. Yikes....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Undergrad Symposium

Last Friday was a series of interesting lectures and talks- my favorite having to be the geneticist! I wondered around with Lindsey and attended quite a few... most of them I got completely lost in, however, the ones I did understand were outstanding. I want to congratulate all of the undergrads! You all did a great job.

Alex and I need some more volunteers, so if you are reading this and have not taken our test, come on down to the reading room!! Forewarning... its kinda long. Altogether this project is coming along well and we hope to obtain some more solid data for our presentations.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


We now have a working program to test for the attentional blink! Volunteers are needed, so come on down to the reading room!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Information + information = tired brain

For the past few days I have been focused on preparing our end of summer presentation. I have been dissecting papers on the different aspects we are looking into and making our power point gorgeous. It is really coming along! Now back to one of the nine papers I will read.....

Thursday, July 31, 2014


So we worked a little more on programming today, but since I have decided to stop complaining about python I will stop there...
We also went into a little more depth on our outline-- Dr. Herbert and I discussed how to plan out the slides better and divide them between me and Alex. With the feed back we now have we are making a lot of changes to the powerpoint! I think it will look better and be much easier to understand. Thats practically all that is happening today... Its a little slow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Snooze Button

I was early today! I only hit the snooze button 2 times this morning, as apposed to my normal 7.

As for work, I am never going to become a programer. However, I have made progress with the help of a grad student, Megan. I now have it so that faces actually show up on the screen when I want them to. All thats left is to figure out how to have them picked randomly and present 6 on the screen at once.

Symposium Project

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I am slowly starting to discover that there is no way to avoid the large amount of pain which will come from the molasses like progress I am making in PsychoPy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


No joke... not even 2 seconds after I published that last post people came in to get their picture taken. YESSSS!!!!!

Programming Problems....

Alex and I have finally figured out how we are going to start our project... however its proving to be a challenge. I downloaded a program called PsychoPy which apparently you need actual programming skills to figure out, of which I have none... so I went to Vicky for some help. She gave me a lot of information and a book to teach me Python programming. I am currently attempting to download a computer program called Canopy in order to practice, but my computer seems to be rebelling against me and is not taking to it. Over all, I have a lot more to do if I am to become moderately okay at programming in the next 3 weeks.

On another note, I am a little bummed that the candy was failure.... we only had 10 or 11 people come get their photos taken.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Today was the day! Alex and I talked to Dr. Nakayama about our project, and it went well. It was extremely nerve racking though... to the point I was happy he could understand me through all of my stammering. He gave us many ideas on how to improve our project and get the most reliable data, and he also suggested that we retake our pictures. We are going to do this whole process over starting at 9:30 AM this Thursday. Hopefully we will have a good turn out. I emailed all of the CIS inters, staff, and REU students telling them to come on down, and offering free candy as incentive... I hope it works!
Back to Dr. Nakayama- during our talk he kept stressing how new of territory we are stepping into and that facial recognition has so many aspects yet to be discovered. And I, being the dreamer that I am, am hoping for an amazing discovery.
Along with Dr. Nakayama, Dr. Herbert also agreed to meet us and look at our project. This meeting will take place tomorrow at 11... I hope we impress him!

Wish us luck....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another Day Faceless...

We desperately need faces.... PLEASE COME GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN!!!

In other news, Alex and I have gotten our abstract pretty much figured out. Suggestions and comments would be really appreciated!

Today I looked up a ton of articles that were written by Dr. Nakayama and other psychologists. If anyone wants to check one out click NAKAYAMA! They are very interesting and not nearly as confusing as the astronomy articles Alex and I read, and they will hopefully prepare us for our interview with him.... which is tomorrow. We brainstormed questions to ask him and really think this is going to be a fantastic advancement in our research, especially seeing how he wrote in his Harvard-professor-bio-page-thing: "I have become interested in the perception and recognition of faces... In the future, I hope that the study of faces will help us understand social perception and cognition, illuminating how we represent other humans at a non-verbal level." Perfect man for us...? I THINK SO. 

Wish us luck!!

Understanding Facial Recognition

New and hopefully improved abstract:

Carrying out seemingly trivial tasks, such as facial recognition, can trigger our minds to perform surprisingly complex procedures. Our objective is to develop a greater understanding of the perceptual, cognitive, and motor skills which are employed in facial recognition. By manipulating photos of faces and tracking how an observer visually assessed a face, we aimed to identify the prominent facial features used in facial recognition, and to discover differences in recognition patterns as a result of variation in familiarity and gender. With a better understanding of the deductive skills that go with the process of facial recognition, we will be capable of assisting in many areas, such as police work (legitimizing eye witness testimonies) and disability assistance (Alzheimer's disease and prosopagnosia).

If anyone wants to add a suggestion click here.

Friday, July 18, 2014


-Possible participants in these tests- 
You can either find me or print these documents for technicality purposes. 

On A Roll...

I keep forgetting to blog! This one will be long though, there is a lot to catch up on...

First off, Alex and I are really cracking down on our project. WE GOT SO MUCH DONE TODAY! I finished one of many power points and sent out a ton of emails. One specific email was to Dr. Andy Herbert in the psychology department. Jeff suggested we talk to him, and ask him to be our adviser. I hope he says yes!! He has looked at things like prosopagnosia (face blindness) and hopefully our efforts and research will spark his interest.
On another note, Alex wrote to a man named Oliver Sacks- a big time psychologist with prosopagnosia- and got a response from his assistant! He said he was going to forward it to Dr. Nakayama who is another big time psychologist and works at Harvard.... Dr. Nakayama wrote back and said he wanted to Skype with us and help answer some questions about our research! With all of these new connections forming, our project is becoming legitimate.

The Project: TOP SECRET. I'm not going to lie, some parts of it I honestly do not want to put out into the public for fear that if the reader is a test subject, they will over think the test and we will not get reliable data... I know I did when I took Lizzy and Jackie's test.
I am beginning to realize how many tests we are going to have to make in order to accomplish our goal. Facial recognition has SOOOO many aspects to it that we need to test for a lot. At the moment, Alex and I are set on about 4 different tests that will look for different things. Don't worry though, if you are a subject we are not about to make you take them all in one day. One thing that I can tell you about is one of the simpler test. In this test we are going to investigate for what aspects of the face are most used in the recognition process. Alex and I worked on Photoshop, isolating a LOT of different faces, and made it so that each face could have a black bar going across the eyes, the nose, and also the mouth. The idea is to see if the subject can identify face when it does not have those key characteristics. This is probably going to be the first test we administer.


Emma Pratt

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ABSTRACT: Facial Recognition

Our minds are on auto pilot when it comes to simple tasks like talking on the phone, listening to a friend, or recognizing people. However,whenever these actions occur, our minds carry out seemingly meaningless yet incomprehensible procedures. Our objective in this project is to develop a greater understanding of the perceptual, cognitive, and motor skills which are employed in the “simple task” of facial recognition. By manipulating and moving photos of faces and bodies, and by tracking how the observer visually evaluates a face, locking it into memory, we will determine what aspects of the face are used in recognition. Further, by taking away aspects of the face, such as the eyes, nose or mouth, we will determine if the person is still identifiable. Other variables such as environment, circumstance, and duration will also be investigated. Once this data is collected and statistically evaluated, we will devise an interactive exhibit that could be on display at Imagine RIT. With a better understanding of the brain and the deductive skills that go with the process of facial recognition, we will be capable of assisting in many areas of research. By understanding human recognition patterns, it could be possible to legitimize aspects of eye witness testimonies or even develop better ways to deal with neurological and developmental illnesses or disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Prosopagnosia (face blindness).

Monday, July 14, 2014


So I forgot a day... oops! I'll make it up now. On Friday we had a HUGE picnic! It was so much fun, and I loved the fact we got to play some volleyball.... it was getting a little intense. We also got a lot of work done too. I think that I got 200 stars done, which left approximately 100 stars to do today. I think my progress has been great, however today we were told that there is a whole other column that needs to be filled out. So now I am retracing my steps and filling in the column.
In other news, I can't wait to start our facial recognition project! Alex and I have just heard back that we have been granted access to an RIT green screen! Things are finally starting to move. However now we just need to find volunteers for getting their picture taken... anybody takers?

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Today I jumped off of a ten story platform..... AND LIVED! Of course it was a vertual platform, but I was still terrified. This all happened during boot camp! Boot camp put my mind through a lot of opsticals. We learned about visual perspective and the sensory motor skills that go with it. After boot camp I listened to seminar which talked about a lake in Rwanda called lake Kivo. This lake has a tremendous and deadly amount CO2 and CH4 at the bottom of it. It was a highly interesting seminar and definitely gave me a taste of college life. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Blog Continues....

Yesterday was a fun day! WE MET RICHIE!!!
Today Alex and I went and explored all of the other labs! It was exciting to see what all of the other interns were doing. In fact, while chatting up with the visual perception lab we actually made a break through on what we want to do! (more on that tomorrow...) All of that aside, in the Astro lab we finally started with the program SIMBBAD, and are copy and pasting a whole bunch of information about various stars. I alone have 500 to go through. 100 have been done today.... I worked fast because I had a little secret system- I would type ctrl+C, alt+tab, ctrl+V over, and over, and over again. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Blog:

INFORMATION OVERLOAD... its the first day and my brain is highly immersed in a new language- astronomy. Our objective is to confirm and identify the properties of young and near stars to our sun. However the terms young and near are relative... young being less than approximately 100 million years old and near being within approximately 300 light years away (also known as 100 parsecs- 3 light years are in one parsec... kind of like 3 feet in one meter). While we were going over the task and discussing the information we need to learn, all I could think was, "Why the heck didn't I pay better attention in physics last year."
This picture shows our brain dump as we all attempted to grasp the concepts that our adviser, Joel Kastner, was introducing us to. After asking lots of questions and talking with the other interns, I finally am starting to understand. Hope tomorrow is a stellar day...