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Chenxiao Guan.

PhD student at Johns Hopkins University


Chenxiao Guan


Seeing what's possible

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I’m a 5th year graduate student in the department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and I work with Dr. Chaz Firestone and Dr. Jonathan Flombaum  I’m interested in visual perception and cognition, logic, and philosophy. My main project is about seeing what's possible.

I completed my undergraduate with double degrees in Brain & Cognitive Science and Psychology with double minors in Mathematics and Philosophy at University of Rochester.

At UofR, I worked with Dr. Bradford Mahon and completed an Honors Thesis about the Representation of Object Affordances in the Posterior Parietal Lobe.

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My research comes from my questions

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You can see the possibility to complete the puzzle pieces;

You can see the possibility of the Tetris piece to fit into the bottom parts;

You can see the possibility of a full bed when assembling furniture...

So, What's the nature of this experience?

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Can we perceive possible objects automatically?


Could this effect be generalized to other shapes, alignment, and orientations?

Do we still compute the possible objects automatically even when the task is irrelevant?


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Does Perceived possibility matter?

(e.g., can our perception of possibility influence our estimation of numerosity?)

How much experience do we need to perceive possibility? 

(e.g. Do kids have the same experience as adults?)



LIfe other than work

I was born and grew up in Hangzhou, China, which   is both historical and modern. 

I came to the U.S. during  high school.  I had a great time at Brighton High School.

During my childhood, I always wondered what other people were thinking of, and this sparked my interest to study psychology and theory of mind later.

My dog Peiqi  just turned 3 years old.  She brings lots of happiness to everybody!!!      


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