September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Electrophysiological responses to the own-face differ in magnitude and scalp topography compared to personally familiar faces and unfamiliar faces
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alison C. Campbell
    University of Victoria, B.C., Canada
  • James W. Tanaka
    University of Victoria, B.C., Canada
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 257b. doi:
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      Alison C. Campbell, James W. Tanaka; Electrophysiological responses to the own-face differ in magnitude and scalp topography compared to personally familiar faces and unfamiliar faces. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):257b.

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

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There is likely no face that is more familiar to us than our own. Yet, it is unclear whether own-face effects reflect this great familiarity or whether processing for the own-face is distinct from that of all other familiar faces. Using a Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation paradigm (Liu-Shuang et al., 2014), we compared electrophysiological responses spontaneously elicited by brief presentations of an unfamiliar identity, a familiar friend-face (e.g., roommate or good friend), and the participant’s own face. Experimental stimuli consisted of natural photographs of participant and non-participant faces which varied in expression and viewpoint. EEG was recorded while participants viewed 70s image sequences with a presentation rate of 6 Hz (F1). In each condition, photos of the same unfamiliar identity, their friend’s face, or the participant’s own face were presented as every 7th image (F2 = 0.86 Hz) embedded within a stream of unfamiliar faces. At 6Hz, strong brain responses were observed over both central occipital and occipito-temporal sites corresponding to the rate of visual stimulation of identity change. Responses at the 0.86 Hz frequency displayed right occipito-temporal topographies, reflecting an identity-specific response to either the repeated unfamiliar identity, the friend-face, or the own-face. The magnitude of the response to the own-face exceeded that of the friend-face, and response to the friend-face exceeded that of the unfamiliar identity. Additionally, the scalp topography of the 0.86 Hz response in the own-face condition was distinguished by a strong fronto-central component. Our results suggest that response magnitude observed over occipito-temporal sites reflect a face familiarity for both own- and other-faces, whereas fronto-central responses reflect a process that is unique to own-face perception.

Acknowledgement: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council 

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