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    The self in the mind’s eye: revealing how we truly see ourselves through reverse correlation

    Maister, Lara and De Beukelaer, S. and Longo, Matthew and Tsakiris, M. (2021) The self in the mind’s eye: revealing how we truly see ourselves through reverse correlation. Psychological Science , ISSN 0956-7976. (In Press)

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    Is there a way to visually depict, for all to see, how people "see" themselves with their minds’ eyes? And if so, what can these mental images tell us about ourselves? We use a computational reverse-correlation technique to explore individuals’ mental ‘self-portraits’, of their faces and body shapes, in an unbiased, data-driven way (total N = 116). Self-portraits were similar to individuals’ real faces, but importantly, also contained ‘clues’ to each person’s self-reported personality traits, which were reliably detected by external observers. Furthermore, people with higher social self-esteem produced more true-to-life self-portraits. Unlike face-portraits, body-portraits had negligible relationships with individuals’ actual body shape, but as with faces, they were influenced by people’s beliefs and emotions. We show how psychological beliefs and attitudes about oneself bias the perceptual representation of one’s appearance, and provide a unique window into the internal mental self-representation, with important implications for mental health and visual culture.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Matthew Longo
    Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2021 09:19
    Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 11:14


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