Poster F23, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Face Processing at 100 ms: the Effects of Race and Configuration
Clara Colombatto1, Gregory McCarthy1; 1Yale University, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA
Research about the neural basis of face recognition has investigated the timing and anatomical substrates of different stages of face processing. Scalp-recorded event-related potential (ERP) studies of face processing have focused upon the N170, an ERP with a peak latency of ~170 ms that has long been associated with the initial structural encoding of faces. However, several studies have reported earlier ERP differences related to face properties such as race and emotions, suggesting that face-specific processes might occur prior to N170. Here we examined the influence of face inversion and face race upon the timing of face-sensitive scalp-recorded ERPs by examining neural responses to upright and inverted line-drawn and luminance-matched Caucasian and African American faces in a sample of Caucasian participants. We found that the P100 ERP evoked by inverted faces was significantly larger than that evoked by upright faces. Inverse modeling of the inversion-effect difference waveform suggested possible neural sources in peri-calcarine extrastriate visual cortex and lateral occipito-temporal cortex. We also found that the inversion-effect difference wave was larger for Caucasian faces. These results are consistent with behavioral evidence that individuals process the faces of their own races more configurally than faces of other races. Taken together, the inversion and race effects observed in the current study suggest that configuration influences face processing by at least 100 ms, and the role of configuration on face processing is greater for own-race faces.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Person perception