September 2011
Volume 11, Issue 11
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2011
Eyes like it, brain likes it: Tracking the neural tuning of cultural diversity in eye movements for faces
Author Affiliations
  • Junpeng Lao
    Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi), The Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Sébastien Miellet
    Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi), The Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Luca Vizioli
    Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi), The Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Roberta Fusco
    Departement of Electronic, Telecomunication and Biomedical Engineering, University of Napleas “Federico II”, Italy
  • Roberto Caldara
    Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi), The Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Journal of Vision September 2011, Vol.11, 628. doi:10.1167/11.11.628
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      Junpeng Lao, Sébastien Miellet, Luca Vizioli, Roberta Fusco, Roberto Caldara; Eyes like it, brain likes it: Tracking the neural tuning of cultural diversity in eye movements for faces. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):628. doi: 10.1167/11.11.628.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract
 

Eye movement strategies deployed by humans to identify conspecifics are not universal. Westerners preferentially fixate the eyes and mouth during face recognition, whereas strikingly Easterners focus more on the central facial region. However, when, where and how Preferred Viewing Locations (PVLs) for high-level visual stimuli are coded in the human brain has never been directly investigated. To this aim, we simultaneously recorded eye movements and electroencephalographic (EEG) signals of Western and Eastern observers while they performed face identification of learnt identities. To avoid complex EEG artifacts generated by multi-oriented saccades, we defined 9 equidistant Viewing Positions (VPs) covering the internal facial features and presented the faces centered on a random VP for 100 ms (Figure 1), hence controlling for foveal and extrafoveal information sampling. The fixation maps extracted from a prior free-viewing condition corroborated cultural diversity in PVLs (Figure 2) despite similar behavioral performance. Conventional component-based electrophysiological analyses revealed only sensitivity to VPs on the P1 component. However, to properly establish potential modulations of EEG signals as a function of PVLs, we extracted the average Z-scored fixation intensity from the fixation maps around non-overleaping VP regions (VPZs). Then, we computed a component-free data-driven spatio-temporal regression between the VPZs and EEG amplitudes (Figure 3). This novel approach revealed, in both groups of observers, a marked direct relationship between VPZ fixation intensity and the amplitudes of the EEG around 350 ms over the well-defined face-sensitive N170 network: the larger the EEG amplitudes, the greater the VPZ on the matching VPs. This effect was unrelated to a burst of microsaccades occurring in this time window. Our data show that cultural fixation preferences for faces are related to identical post-perceptual neurophysiological responses over the occipito-temporal cortex. Humans from different cultures deploy distinct eye movement strategies, but they crucially rely on a universal neural tuning.

 
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