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Early Stages (P100) of Face Perception in Humans as Measured with Event-Related Potentials (ERPs)


Ehlis A-C, Werner,  S
Research Group Cognitive Neuroimaging, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Herrmann, M., Ehlis A-C, Werner, S., Ellgring, H., & Fallgatter, A. (2004). Early Stages (P100) of Face Perception in Humans as Measured with Event-Related Potentials (ERPs). Poster presented at 7th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2004), Tübingen, Germany.

According to current ERP literature, face specific activity is reflected by a negative component over the inferior occipito-temporal cortex between 140 and 180 ms after stimulus onset (N170). A recently published study [1] using magnetoencephalography (MEG) clearly indicated that a face-selective component can be observed at 100 ms (M100) which is about 70 ms earlier than reported in previous studies. Here we report these early differences at 107 ms between the ERPs of faces and buildings over the occipito-temporal cortex using electroencephalography. To exclude that these effects were caused by low-level features of the pictures, like contrast or luminance, we compared the P100 component for faces and totally scrambled faces in a second study. The result of higher P100 amplitudes for intact faces compared to the scramble faces confirm that face processing starts already at ~ 100 ms with an initial stage which can be measured not only with MEG but also with ERPs. [1] Liu, J. et al. (2002): Nat Neurosci. 5, 910-916.