Dr. Jessie Peissig, Psychology

Education and Professional Positions

Ph.D., University of Iowa
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brown University
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Current Research Interests

We explore how the brain processes faces, objects, and facial emotions. 

My research focuses on various aspects of visual perception.  In a set of studies in collaboration with Dr. Cindy Bukach, we have tested birders to determine the limits of visual expertise, that is how far this type of visual training will generalize.  In another facet of my research I am using a face database of normal, disguised, and emotional faces that I collected while at Brown University.  We are using these face databases to study how people recognize faces that have been disguised in various ways, such as changing the hair or adding glasses.  I have also collected a new emotion database at CSUF that includes posed and genuine expression from the same people.  We are using those faces to look at people’s ability to recognize subtle, genuine emotions compared to posed expressions. We are also exploring the role of eyebrows in face recognition, as a compared to the eyes alone and the mouth.  Finally, we are exploring the role of makeup in attractiveness.  We are testing the perceptual biases that are involved in where and why females use makeup to increase attractiveness.

These studies will provide critical information for understanding our ability to recognize individuals and their emotions, an important social task for humans and other social animals.

Selected Publications

  1. Peissig, J. J., Nagasaka, Y., Young, M.E., Wasserman, E.A., & Biederman, I. (2015).  Using the reassignment procedure to test object representation in pigeons and people. Learning and Behavior, 43, 188-207.
  2. Balas, B., Peissig, J. J., & Moulson, M. (2015). Children (but not adults) judge similarity in own- and other-race faces by the color of their skin. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 130, 56-66.
  3. Peissig, J. J. & Goode, T.‡ (2012). How animals recognize rotated objects. Chapter for How Animals See the World: Behavior, Biology, and Evolution of Vision (pp. 233-246). New York, New York,Oxford University Press.
  4. Righi, G., Peissig, J. J., & Tarr, M. J. (2012). The impact of disguise on the recognition and processing of faces. Visual Cognition, 20(2), 143-169.
  5. Bukach, C. M. & Peissig, J. J. (2010). How faces became special.  In I. Gauthier, M. J. Tarr, & D. Bub (Eds.),  Perceptual Expertise: Bridging Brain and Behavior (pp. 11-39). New York, New York, Oxford University Press.
  6. Peissig, J. J. & Tarr, M. J. (2007).  Object recognition:  Do we know more today than we did twenty years ago?  In S. T. Fiske, A. E. Kazdin, & D. L. Schacter (Eds.), Annual review of psychology: Volume 58 (pp. 75-96). Palo Alto, CA:  Annual Reviews Press.

Honors and Awards

Recent Student Awards Include: