My true face: unmasking one’s own face representation

Mora, Laura; Cowie, D; Banissy, Michael J. and Cocchini, Gianna. 2018. My true face: unmasking one’s own face representation. Acta Psychologica, 191, pp. 63-68. ISSN 0001-6918 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Face recognition has been the focus of multiple studies, but little is still known on how we represent the structure of one’s own face. Most of the studies have focused on the topic of visual and haptic face recognition, but the metric representation of different features of one’s own face is relatively unknown. We investigated the metric representation of the face in young adults by developing a proprioceptive pointing task to locate face landmarks in the first-person perspective. Our data revealed a large overestimation of width for all face features which resembles, in part, the size in somatosensory cortical representation. In contrast, face length was compartmentalised in two different regions: upper (underestimated) and bottom (overestimated); indicating size differences possibly due to functionality. We also identified shifts of the location judgments, with all face areas perceived closer to the body than they really were, due to a potential influence of the self-frame of reference. More importantly, the representation of the face appeared asymmetrical, with an overrepresentation of right side of the face, due to the influence of lateralization biases for strong right-handers. We suggest that these effects may be due to functionality influences and experience that affect the construction of face structural representation, going beyond the parallel of the somatosensory homunculus.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


face representation, self-face perception, body representation, body model, size distortions, proprioceptive pointing

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Centre for Cognition, Computation and Culture (CCCC)


27 August 2018Accepted
November 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Sep 2018 10:44

Last Modified:

27 Apr 2020 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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