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Reduced sensitivity to contrast signals from the eye region in developmental prosopagnosia

Fisher, K; Towler, J; Eimer, M; (2016) Reduced sensitivity to contrast signals from the eye region in developmental prosopagnosia. Cortex , 81 (C) pp. 64-78. 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.04.005. Green open access

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Abstract

Contrast-related signals from the eye region are known to be important for the processing of facial identity. Individuals with developmental prosopagnosia (DP) have severe face recognition problems, which may be linked to deficits in the perceptual processing of identity-related information from the eyes. We tested this hypothesis by measuring N170 components in DP participants and age-matched controls in response to face images where the contrast polarity of the eyes and of other face parts was independently manipulated. In different trials, participants fixated either the eye region or the lower part of a face. In the Control group, contrast-reversal of the eyes resulted in enhanced and delayed N170 components, irrespective of the contrast of other face parts and of gaze location. In the DP group, these effects of eye contrast on N170 amplitudes were strongly and significantly reduced, demonstrating that perceptual face processing in DP is less well tuned to contrast information from the eye region. Inverting the contrast of other parts of the face affected N170 amplitudes only when fixation was outside the eye region. This effect did not differ between the two groups, indicating that DPs are not generally insensitive to the contrast polarity of face images. These results provide new evidence that a selective deficit in detecting and analysing identity-related information provided by contrast signals from the eye region may contribute to the face recognition impairment in DP.

Type: Article
Title: Reduced sensitivity to contrast signals from the eye region in developmental prosopagnosia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.04.005
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2016.04.005
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Face perception, Face recognition, Developmental prosopagnosia, Contrast inversion, N170 component
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062012
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