The Deceptively Simple N170 Reflects Network Information Processing Mechanisms Involving Visual Feature Coding and Transfer Across Hemispheres

Robin A.A. Ince*, Katarzyna Jaworska, Joachim Gross, Stefano Panzeri, Nicola J. Van Rijsbergen, Guillaume A. Rousselet, Philippe G. Schyns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A key to understanding visual cognition is to determine "where", "when", and "how" brain responses reflect the processing of the specific visual features that modulate categorization behavior - the "what". The N170 is the earliest Event-Related Potential (ERP) that preferentially responds to faces. Here, we demonstrate that a paradigmatic shift is necessary to interpret the N170 as the product of an information processing network that dynamically codes and transfers face features across hemispheres, rather than as a local stimulus-driven event. Reverse-correlation methods coupled with information-theoretic analyses revealed that visibility of the eyes influences face detection behavior. The N170 initially reflects coding of the behaviorally relevant eye contralateral to the sensor, followed by a causal communication of the other eye from the other hemisphere. These findings demonstrate that the deceptively simple N170 ERP hides a complex network information processing mechanism involving initial coding and subsequent cross-hemispheric transfer of visual features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4123-4135
Number of pages13
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume26
Issue number11
Early online date22 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2016

Keywords

  • EEG
  • face processing
  • information transmission
  • mutual information
  • reverse correlation

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