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: 16.1). 10/2002; 5(9):910-6. DOI: 10.1038/nn909
Source: PubMed


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; 15(12). DOI:10.1111/desc.12311 · 3.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Important to understanding the retrieval dynamics in this behavioral paradigm is the shift we observed in the dominant coding of information in evoked responses from 200 ms to 400 ms poststimulus . Information in the visual system up to 200 ms post-stimulus may hew closely to the form of the stimulus that was presented (Tanaka and Curran, 2001; VanRullen and Thorpe, 2001; Liu et al., 2002; Schiff et al., 2006; Rossion and Jacques, 2008). This is consistent with our finding that spatial patterns of activity evoked by different exemplars within a category were relatively distinct and that individual fractals were better classified at this time bin. "
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    ABSTRACT: Electrophysiological data disclose rich dynamics in patterns of neural activity evoked by sensory objects. Retrieving objects from memory reinstates components of this activity. In humans, the temporal structure of this retrieved activity remains largely unexplored, and here we address this gap using the spatiotemporal precision of magnetoencephalography (MEG). In a sensory preconditioning paradigm, 'indirect' objects were paired with 'direct' objects to form associative links, and the latter were then paired with rewards. Using multivariate analysis methods we examined the short-time evolution of neural representations of indirect objects retrieved during reward-learning about direct objects. We found two components of the evoked representation of the indirect stimulus, 200 ms apart. The strength of retrieval of one, but not the other, representational component correlated with generalization of reward learning from direct to indirect stimuli. We suggest the temporal structure within retrieved neural representations may be key to their function.
    eLife Sciences 01/2015; 4(4). DOI:10.7554/eLife.04919 · 9.32 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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