The aim of the present study was to investigate the time course of implicit processing of facial features and the associate ERP components. To this end, we used a masked priming paradigm to investigate implicit processing of the eyes and mouth in upright and inverted faces, using a prime duration of 33 ms. Two types of prime-target pairs were used: 1. congruent (e.g., open eyes only in both prime and target); 2. incongruent (e.g., open mouth only in prime and open eyes only in target). The identity of the faces changed between prime and target. Participants pressed a button when the target face had the eyes open and another button when the target face had the mouth open. The behavioral results indicated a congruent priming effect for the mouth in upright faces and for the eyes in inverted faces. In addition, the ERP results indicated a face orientation effect across all ERP components studied (P1, N1, N170, P2, N2, P3) starting at about 80 ms, and a congruency/priming effect on late components (P2, N2, P3), starting at about 150 ms. Interestingly, the results showed that the orientation effect was driven by the eye region and that the congruency effect started earlier (P2) for the eyes than for the mouth (N2). These congruency effects were followed by a P3 component, which peaked later for the incongruent than congruent conditions. These findings provide further evidence that the eyes are automatically processed and that are very salient facial features that strongly affect the amplitude, latency, and distribution of neural responses to faces.
IMPLICIT PROCESSING OF THE EYES AND MOUTH:EVIDENCE FROM HUMAN ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY / Pesciarelli, Francesca; I., Leo; M., Sarlo. - In: PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY. - ISSN 0048-5772. - ELETTRONICO. - 49:(2012), pp. 106-106. (Intervento presentato al convegno Society for Psychophysiological Research tenutosi a New Orleans nel 21+24 October).