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Joseph McCleery, Liezhong Ge, Zhe Wang, Jie Tian, Leslie Carver, Kang Lee; Neural correlates of visual discrimination expertise: Chinese face versus Chinese character processing. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):621. doi: 10.1167/7.9.621.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The N170 event-related potential (ERP) component has several face-specific response properties, including larger amplitude and shorter latency responses to faces than to non-faces and larger amplitude responses to inverted faces than to upright faces. Recent evidence suggests that several of these response properties are also modulated by degree of visual discrimination expertise. Simultaneously, visual discrimination expertise has been shown to be associated with increased sensitivity to configural information, which is believed to be a critical component of face processing. However, little is known about the direct relationships of visual discrimination expertise, configural processing, and the face-specific response properties of the N170. Therefore, the focus of the present study was to compare and contrast N170 responses associated with long-term high-level visual discrimination expertise that involves both featural and configural sensitivity (face processing) with long-term high-level visual discrimination expertise that involves primarily featural sensitivity (Chinese character processing). High-density event-related potentials were recorded while Chinese adults discriminated upright and inverted Chinese faces and Chinese characters in a within-subjects design. Statistical analyses revealed that upright faces and characters elicited similar amplitude N170 responses, but that faces elicited shorter latency N170 responses than characters. Additionally, faces and characters elicited differential inversion effects whereby inverted faces elicited larger amplitude responses than upright faces but inverted characters elicited smaller amplitude responses than upright characters. These results suggest that N170 amplitude effects may be associated with visual discrimination expertise more generally, but that N170 latency and inversion effects may be specifically associated with configural processing.
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