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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Thursday, January 08, 2015


Seeing Sideways Like the Deaf

The Benton Facial Recognition Test tests subjects ability to recognise faces seen from other angles. I predict that Japanese, especially those with high private shame, would be better at this test due to their improved ablity to see an imagine from a simulated perspective.

When Japanese sit in circles in groups they often have a great ability to sense the consensus of the group as judged from the expressions and non verbal communication of other group members. I find myself having to move my head to look at the all the other members in order to be able to mimic the same trick, but Japanese seem to be able to use peripheral vision and oblique facial views. I have also hypothesized that the Japanese should have cognitive skills similar to those of the deaf, since they are less likely to use (and their problem solving skills are even impaired by using) phonetic mental imagery (Kim, 2002).

Deaf children are better at the Benton test as shown in the above graph. Japanese subjects should outperform Western subjects too but direct comparisons would be difficult due to the need to use a different set of faces. I note that an Asian versio of the test exists.

Image from Emmorey, K., Kosslyn, S. M., & Bellugi, U. (1993). Visual imagery and visual-spatial language: Enhanced imagery abilities in deaf and hearing ASL signers. Cognition, 46(2), 139-181.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.