well, can you give us some more info, if you dont know if its paint or construction by looking at it, how am we supposed to help from reading your written word(all 15 of them)

why dont you get a ladder and stick your head up there and perhaps actually touch the area and see whats up with it..

then post back again and give us as much information as you have gathered with your hands on inspection

things like condition of paint, condition of plaster, drywall, any ,mositure problems you spotted, mildew or anything else. the more info you have the better your able to handle the problem

i seriously doubt its any construction problem, just by the laws of averages, so judgeing from your 15 words i would say its time to break out the scraper and some paint and address that problem directly