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Developing a Novel Test of Facial Expression Recognition Ability


School of Health and Life Sciences

Glasgow United Kingdom Neurology Neuropsychology Neuroscience Optometry

About the Project

SHLS20015

Facial expressions are a critical component of non-verbal communication. Patients with visual impairment, however, report difficulty with recognising expressions. This causes feelings of frustration and isolation, as well as difficulty following conversations.

Currently, there is no standard method of measuring facial expression recognition ability. Consequently, clinicians are currently without means to detect and investigate impairments of this important visual function.

This project’s primary aim is to develop a new, computer-based test which accurately measures the ability to recognise facial expressions. In addition to serving as a research tool, the test will be sufficiently efficient to be utilized in a clinical environment. 

As proof of concept, we have created and tested several prototype face stimuli which form the basis of our new test. Our pilot data demonstrate that our methods are sufficiently sensitive to detect subtle differences in sensitivity to facial expressions.

Once developed, we will validate our new test and collect substantive normative data. This will enable us to determine the normal range of performance which will, in turn, facilitate detection of impaired facial expression recognition ability.

Finally, we will apply our new test to quantify the impact of AMD on the ability to recognise facial expressions. The test has the potential to detect impaired sensitivity to facial expressions and monitor changes in this visual function associated with disease progression and treatment.

The successful candidate will join the The Vision Research Group. This community of researchers, based at Glasgow Caledonian University, has a longstanding reputation in a number of areas of vision science.

The successful candidate must be a Member of the College of Optometrists at the beginning of the research project and remain in membership for the duration of the project. They will be a registered Optometrist and hold either a First-class or Upper-Second Class Honours degree in Optometry. 

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2021

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. 

To be considered this project, apply here

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.  


Funding Notes

This studentship is funded by The College of Optometrists and is for a period of three years (Full time), subject to satisfactory progress. Fees and stipend are paid at MRC rates, currently £4,407 tuition fee and £15,285 stipend for session 2020/21

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