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Shahin Nasr, Hossein Esteky; A study of N250 event-related brain potential during face and non-face detection tasks. Journal of Vision 2009;9(5):5. doi: 10.1167/9.5.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Face perception relies on activation of a complex set of different neural modules. In this study, we assessed the stimulus selectivity of the occipitotemporal N250 ERP component and the possible link between its neural substrates and modules underlying preceding (N170/VPP) and following (P400) category selective ERPs. We recorded N250 during face and leaf detection tasks while we varied stimulus visibility from trial to trial by using a backward masking paradigm. Our results revealed that N250, but not the other tested potentials, was exclusively sensitive to the visibility of faces even when the non-face stimuli served as the task target. We also found a correlation between evoked N170 and N250, in response to face stimuli and to a lesser extent in response to other non-face objects, irrespective of the subjects' task. Besides N250, P400 also showed a strong correlation with N170, but here, the amount of correlation was not affected by stimulus category. Interestingly, despite N250 and N400 correlation with N170, we did not find any correlation between N250 and P400, suggesting that modules underlying these ERP components belong to two different face-processing pathways. We suggest that N250 is initiated by N170 and indexes processes exclusively responsible for encoding faces.
*Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level.
**Correlation is significant at the <0.01 level.
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