Liu J, Harris A, Kanwisher N. Stages of processing in face perception: an MEG study

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, NE20-443, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.
Nature Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 14.98). 10/2002; 5(9):910-6. DOI: 10.1038/nn909
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Here we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate stages of processing in face perception in humans. We found a face-selective MEG response occurring only 100 ms after stimulus onset (the 'M100'), 70 ms earlier than previously reported. Further, the amplitude of this M100 response was correlated with successful categorization of stimuli as faces, but not with successful recognition of individual faces, whereas the previously-described face-selective 'M170' response was correlated with both processes. These data suggest that face processing proceeds through two stages: an initial stage of face categorization, and a later stage at which the identity of the individual face is extracted.

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    • "Bruce and Young (1986) omitted face detection from their cognitive model because there was no evidence at the time that faces required special analysis, and because the relative timing of face detection versus face recognition was unclear. There is now considerable evidence that faces are processed separately from objects: face-selective responses have been recorded at a single cell level (Foldiak, Xiao, Keysers, Edwards & Perrett, 2004; Tsao, Moeller & Freiwald, 2008), as well as through neuroimaging (Kanwisher, McDermott & Chun, 1997; Liu, Harris & Kanwisher, 2002; McCarthy, Puce & Gore, 1997) and event-related potentials (Bentin, Allison , Puce, Perez & McCarthy, 1996; Botzel, Schulze & Stodieck, 1995; Jeffreys, 1989). Evidence from transcranial magnetic stimulation (Pitcher, Charles, Devlin, Walsh & Duchaine, 2009) and neuropsychology (Duchaine et al., 2006; Moscovitch, Winocur & Behrmann, 1997) further supports the view that face processing and object processing are dissociable. "
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental prosopagnosia (DP) is defined by severe face recognition difficulties due to the failure to develop the visual mechanisms for processing faces. The two-process theory of face recognition (Morton & Johnson, 1991) implies that DP could result from a failure of an innate face detection system; this failure could prevent an individual from then tuning higher-level processes for face recognition (Johnson, 2005). Work with adults indicates that some individuals with DP have normal face detection whereas others are impaired. However, face detection has not been addressed in children with DP, even though their results may be especially informative because they have had less opportunity to develop strategies that could mask detection deficits. We tested the face detection abilities of seven children with DP. Four were impaired at face detection to some degree (i.e. abnormally slow, or failed to find faces) while the remaining three children had normal face detection. Hence, the cases with impaired detection are consistent with the two-process account suggesting that DP could result from a failure of face detection. However, the cases with normal detection implicate a higher-level origin. The dissociation between normal face detection and impaired identity perception also indicates that these abilities depend on different neurocognitive processes. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Developmental Science 05/2015; DOI:10.1111/desc.12311 · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Electrophysiological measurements with electro-/magneto-encephalography (EEG/MEG) are particularly important in this regard because of their non-invasive natures and high temporal resolutions, allowing the differentiation of brain processes which occur in close temporal proximity to each other, including those associated with perceptual encoding, face-specific encoding, and response preparation (see review in Rossion, 2014). In human adults, EEG/MEG responses with a latency of about 170 ms (N170/M170) show clear and consistent amplitude maxima to pictures of faces (Bentin et al., 1996; Bötzel et al., 1995; Liu et al., 2002) and are considered to be the earliest neural markers of face-specific processing (Rossion and Caharel, 2011; Rossion and Jacques, 2008). Recent views on the neural representations of the face-sensitive N170/M170 consider the brain activity that underlies this scalp measurable component to be directly associated with our conscious interpretation of a picture as a face. "
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    ABSTRACT: There are two competing theories concerning the development of face perception: a late maturation account and an early maturation account. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) neuroimaging holds promise for adjudicating between the two opposing accounts by providing objective neurophysiological measures of face processing, with sufficient temporal resolution to isolate face-specific brain responses from those associated with other sensory, cognitive and motor processes. The current study used a customised child MEG system to measure M100 and M170 brain responses in 15 children aged three to six years while they viewed faces, cars and their phase-scrambled counterparts. Compared to adults tested using the same stimuli in a conventional MEG system, the children showed significantly larger and later M100 responses. Children’s M170 responses, derived by subtracting the response to phase-scrambled images from the corresponding images (faces or cars) were delayed in latency but otherwise resembled the adult M170. This component has not been obtained in previous studies of young children tested using conventional adult MEG systems. However children did show a markedly reduced M170 response to cars in comparison to adults. This may reflect children’s lack of expertise with cars relative to faces. Taken together, these data are in accord with recent behavioural and neuroimaging data that support early maturation of the basic face processing functions.
    NeuroImage 12/2014; 105:317-327. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.029 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    • "By comparison, later components of both the ERP and MEG waveforms are more sensitive to the arrangement of parts within a face template. Both the N170 (Bentin, Allison, Puce, Perez, & McCarthy, 1996) and the M170 (Liu et al., 2002) exhibit profiles of sensitivity to face stimuli that suggest that these later stages of processing are primarily dedicated to the encoding of global structure. Scrambled or isolated face parts typically do not yield as large as a response at these components as does the whole face template (though see Itier, Van Roon, & Alain, 2011, for recent results describing the sensitivity of the N170 component to isolated eyes), and both responses remain relatively large when highly schematic or blurred faces are presented to observers (Flevaris, Robertson, & Bentin, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Crowding refers to the inability to recognize an object in peripheral vision when other objects are presented nearby (Whitney & Levi Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 160-168, 2011). A popular explanation of crowding is that features of the target and flankers are combined inappropriately when they are located within an integration field, thus impairing target recognition (Pelli, Palomares, & Majaj Journal of Vision, 4(12), 12:1136-1169, 2004). However, it remains unclear which features of the target and flankers are combined inappropriately to cause crowding (Levi Vision Research, 48, 635-654, 2008). For example, in a complex stimulus (e.g., a face), to what extent does crowding result from the integration of features at a part-based level or at the level of global processing of the configural appearance? In this study, we used a face categorization task and different types of flankers to examine how much the magnitude of visual crowding depends on the similarity of face parts or of global configurations. We created flankers with face-like features (e.g., the eyes, nose, and mouth) in typical and scrambled configurations to examine the impacts of part appearance and global configuration on the visual crowding of faces. Additionally, we used "electrical socket" flankers that mimicked first-order face configuration but had only schematic features, to examine the extent to which global face geometry impacted crowding. Our results indicated that both face parts and configurations contribute to visual crowding, suggesting that face similarity as realized under crowded conditions includes both aspects of facial appearance.
    Attention Perception & Psychophysics 10/2014; 77(2). DOI:10.3758/s13414-014-0786-0 · 2.15 Impact Factor
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