October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Imagery and perception-based decoding of facial identity from EEG signals
Author Affiliations
  • Dan Nemrodov
    University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
  • Ilya Nudnou
    University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
  • Adrian Nestor
    University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 311. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.311
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      Dan Nemrodov, Ilya Nudnou, Adrian Nestor; Imagery and perception-based decoding of facial identity from EEG signals. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):311. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.311.

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

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Despite recent progress in unravelling the neurocomputational mechanisms for face perception, their counterparts, that subserve visual memory and imagery for faces, are yet to be elucidated. To address this challenge, here, we used electroencephalography (EEG) in healthy adults to assess the neural response elicited by familiar faces, as participants viewed or recalled their appearance in response to a cue. Specifically, we appealed to pattern analysis to decode the identity of famous female faces and to characterize the structure of face space from imagery and perception. The outcome of this investigation showed, first, that facial identity could be decoded from both perception and imagery. Second, the temporal profile of face decoding showed, for imagery, particular reliance on the interval between 1-2 seconds after cue onset while, as expected, this profile exhibited an earlier peak for perception, around 400 ms after stimulus onset. Third, despite their divergence in the temporal domain, imagery and perception were spatially similar in their reliance on parietal and centro-parietal channels for decoding purposes. Last, an assessment of representational spaces showed that imagery-based space structure could be explained to some extent, but not entirely, by its perceptual counterpart. Thus, the present findings shed light on the visual representations underlying face imagery, on their spatiotemporal dynamics and on their relation with perception. Moreover, methodologically, they demonstrate the ability of EEG signals to carry fine-grained information regarding visual memory and imagery for faces.


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