Purchase this article with an account.
Dana Kuefner, Adélaïde de Heering, Corentin Jacques, Ernesto Palmero-Soler, Bruno Rossion; Early visually evoked electrophysiological responses over the human brain (P1, N170) show stable patterns of face-sensitivity from 4 years to adulthood. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):567. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.7.567.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Whether the development of face recognition abilities truly reflects changes in how faces, specifically, are perceived, or rather can be attributed to more general perceptual or cognitive development is debated. Event-related potential (ERP) recordings on the scalp offer promise for this issue because they allow brain responses to complex visual stimuli to be relatively well isolated from other sensory, cognitive and motor processes. ERP recordings in response to faces from 5-16-year-old children report large age-related changes in amplitude, latency (decreases) and topographical distribution of the early visual component P1 and the occipito-temporal N170 (Taylor, Batty & Itier, 2004). To test the face specificity of these effects, we recorded high-density ERPs to pictures of faces, cars, and their phase-scrambled versions from 72 children between 4 and 17 years, and adults. We found that none of the age-related changes in amplitude, latency or topography of the P1 or N170 were specific to faces. Most importantly, when we controlled for age-related variations of the P1, the N170 appeared remarkably similar in amplitude and topography across development, with much smaller age-related decreases in latencies than previously reported. At all ages the N170 showed equivalent face-sensitivity; it was absent for scrambled stimuli, larger and earlier for faces than cars, and had the same scalp topography across ages. These data also illustrate the large amount of inter-individual and inter-trial variance in young children's data. This variability appears to cause the N170 to merge with a later component, the N250 in grand-averaged data, explaining the previously reported “bi-fid” N170 of young children. Overall, we conclude that the classic electrophysiological markers of face-sensitive perceptual processes are present as early as 4 years, an observation which does not support the view that face-specific perceptual processes undergo a long developmental course from infancy to adulthood.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only