Gillian Rhodes

Emeritus Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M304), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


Gillian Rhodes received her PhD from Stanford University in 1986 and is currently a Professor of Psychology at the University of Western Australia. She leads the Person Perception Program of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. Her research focuses on how we perceive, read, and recognize faces. She is the author of Superportraits: Caricatures and recognition, and has co-edited several volumes on face perception, including most recently, The Oxford Handbook of Face Perception.
She has held two ARC Professorial Fellowships (2003-2012) and an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (2013-16).

Roles and responsibilities

Book Series Editor, Oxford Series in Visual Cognition (previously Advances in Visual Cognition), Oxford University Press (2003 continuing)

Editorial Board, Perception (2006 continuing)

Attention & Performance Advisory Council, Member (2011 continuing)

International Advisor, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science (2008 continuing)

Panel Member, Canada Research Chairs program (2003 continuing)

Previous positions

Australian Professorial Fellow, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, 2003-2012
Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Western Australia, 1996-2002
Visiting Scientist, Vision Sciences Laboratory, Harvard University, April-May, 2000
Visiting Researcher, Advanced Telecommunications Research Laboratories, Human Information Processing Laboratory, Kyoto, Japan, Sep-Dec 1999
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, NZ, 1994-1996
Visiting Professor, Department of Psychology, Queen's University, May-Aug, 1992
Visiting Scientist, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Aug-Dec, 1992
Visiting Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon (Eugene), Jan-March, 1993
Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, NZ, 1987-1993
Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Otago, NZ, 1986-87


Faces convey a wealth of information that guides our social interactions. At a glance we can assess a person’s identity, gender, ethnicity, age, attractiveness, emotional state and focus of attention. This fluency is remarkable given the difficulty of the discriminations required. We aim to understand the mechanisms (perceptual, cognitive, neural and evolutionary) of person perception and how they relate to other cognitive abilities and social functioning. A major new focus is on how person perception skills emerge during typical development and in children with autism. Our long-term goal is to develop interventions to enhance person perception, and ultimately, social functioning and quality of life in individuals with person perception difficulties. Our work is conducted in the FaceLab, which hosts the Person Perception program for the ARC Center of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research expertise keywords

  • Face perception
  • Visual cognition


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