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Christine Schiltz, Corentin Jacques, Bruno Rossion; The spatio-temporal correlates of holistic face perception. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):123. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/7.9.123.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
It is well known that faces are perceived holistically: their parts are integrated into a global or so-called holistic individual representation. Here we clarify where and how early in time individual holistic representations are extracted from the visual stimulus, by means of an event-related identity adaptation paradigm in fMRI (study 1; 10 subjects) and ERPs (study 2; 16 subjects). During blocks, subjects were presented with trials made of two sequentially presented faces and performed a same/different judgement on the top parts of each pair of faces. Face parts were presented either aligned or misaligned. For each face pair, the identity of top and bottom parts could be (a) both identical, (b) both different, (c) different only for the bottom part. The latter manipulation resulted in a strong face composite illusion behaviourally, i.e. the perception of identical top parts as being different, only in the aligned format. In the face-sensitive area of the middle fusiform gyrus (‘fusiform face area’) we observed a stronger response to the top part perceived as being different (release from adaptation), but only when the top and the bottom parts were aligned. It is consistent with the illusion of viewing different top parts of faces, and this release from fMR-adaptation is similar to the one observed in the ‘different’ condition for both aligned and misaligned parts. The same observations were made in ERPs as early as 150 ms, the amplitude of the electrophysiological response at occipito-temporal sites to the second face stimulus being reduced for identical relative to different top face parts, and to identical top parts perceived as different (aligned - bottom different). With both methods, the effects were stronger in the right hemisphere. Altogether, these observations indicate that individual faces are perceived holistically as early as 150 ms in the occipito-temporal cortex.
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