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Chenxiao Guan.

Postdoc at Zhejiang University


Chenxiao Guan


Seeing what's possible

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I’m currently a postdoc in the department of Psychology & Behavioral Sciences at Zhejiang University and I work with Dr. Hui Chen and Dr. Mowei Shen. I’m interested in visual perception and cognition, attention, memory, aesthetics, and philosophy of mind.

I'm also an organizer of OPAM (Object Perception, Attention, and Memory) conference, and looking forward to seeing you there!

I received Ph.D degree in the department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and I worked with Dr. Chaz Firestone and Dr. Jonathan Flombaum

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?)

Selected publications

My expression of the research

Fu, Y.+, Guan, C+., Tam, J., O'Donnell R.E., Shen, M., Wyble, B., Chen, H. (2023). Attention with or without working memory: mnemonic reselection of attended information. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. [PDF] [Co-first authored]

Zhu, P., Yang, Q., Chen, L., Guan, C., Zhou, J., Shen, M., & Chen, H. (2023). Working memory-guided attention competes with exogenous attention but not with endogenous attention. Behavioral Sciences, 13(5):426. [PDF]

Guan, C., & Firestone, C. (2020). Seeing what’s possible: Disconnected visual parts are confused for their potential wholes. Journal of experimental psychology: general, 149(3), 590. [PDF]

Guan, C., Schwitzgebel, D., Hafri, A., & Firestone, C. (under review). Part-whole effects in visual number estimation.

Liu, H., Tang, E., Guan, C., Li, J., Zheng, J., Zhou, D., Shen, M. & Chen, H. (under review). Not socially blind: unimpaired perception of social interaction in schizophrenia.



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.

Now I've come back to my home city and doing a postdoc near home, which is sooo nice!

My dog Peiqi  just turned 4 years old.  She brings lots of happiness to everybody!!!      


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