Peripheral preview abolishes N170 face-sensitivity at fixation: Using fixation-related potentials to investigate dynamic face processing

Peter de Lissa, Genevieve McArthur, Stefan Hawelka, Romina Palermo, Yatin Mahajan, Federica Degno, Florian Hutzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The N170 ERP peak has been found to be consistently larger in response to the presentation of faces than to other objects, yet it is not clear whether this face-sensitive N170 is also elicited during fixations made subsequent to the initial presentation. To investigate this question, the current study utilised Event and Fixation-Related Potentials in two experiments, time-locking brain potentials to the presentation of faces and objects (watches) images in participants’ peripheral vision, and to their first fixations on the images. Experiment 1 found that a face-sensitive N170 was elicited by the onset of images but not by a subsequent fixation on the images, and that face inversion did not modulate N170 beyond presentation. Experiment 2 found that disrupting the structure of the peripheral preview (phase-scrambling) led to a face-sensitive N170 at fixation onsets on the intact-images. Interestingly, N170 amplitudes for both faces and objects were significantly enhanced after the peripheral preview was phase-scrambled, suggesting that the N170 in part reflects a category-detection process that is elicited once when an image structure is viewed. These results indicate that neural processing during fixations will be significantly modulated when they are immediately preceded by peripheral previews, and is not specific to faces.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVisual Cognition
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Oct 2019

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