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Priming visual face-processing mechanisms: Electrophysiological evidence

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Mecklinger,  Axel
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici,  Angela D.
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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von Cramon,  D. Yves
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Bentin, S., Sagiv, N., Mecklinger, A., Friederici, A. D., & von Cramon, D. Y. (2002). Priming visual face-processing mechanisms: Electrophysiological evidence. Psychological Science, 13(2), 190-193. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00435.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-D201-7
Abstract
Accumulated evidence from electrophysiology and neuroimaging suggests that face perception involves extrastriate visual mechanisms specialized in processing physiognomic features and building a perceptual representation that is categorically distinct and can be identified by face-recognition units. In the present experiment, we recorded event-related brain potentials in order to explore possible contextual influences on the activity of this perceptual mechanism. Subjects werefirst exposed to pairs of small shapes, which did not elicit any face-specific brain activity. The same stimuli, however, elicitedface-specific brain activity after subjects saw them embedded in schematic faces, which probably primed the subjects to interpret the shapes as schematic eyes. No face-specific activity was observed when objects rather than faces were used to form the context. We conclude that the activity of face-specific extrastriate perceptual mechanisms can be modulated by contextual constraints that determine the significance of the visual input.