School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Nichola Sally Burton

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 3573

Start date

Mar 2012

Submission date

Mar 2016

Nichola Sally Burton


The Structure of Expression Space: How Do We Visually Represent Facial Expressions?


We can extract a lot of information from a single glance at a face. The identity of the face and the expression on that face are both of particular social importance; who is this person, and what thoughts, feelings and intentions are they expressing? These two types of facial information seem quite different, but they are both derived from the same basic visual patterns. I am interested in the way that the visual system allows us to extract these different kinds of facial information. We already know a lot about the way that facial identity is visually represented, but relatively little research has been done into the visual representation of expression. I aim to explore the mechanisms that visually represent facial expression using methods that have been established in facial identity research.

Why my research is important

This research will help us to understand how we recognize facial expressions, a vital skill for social interaction. It will also clarify how we extract different kinds of information from the same face, and in particular how the visual representations of facial identity and expression information are related to one another.


  • ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders


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