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Cognition. 2008 Mar;106(3):1537-47. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Category contingent aftereffects for faces of different races, ages and species.

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School of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, UK.


Exposure to faces biases perceptions of subsequently viewed faces such that normality judgments of similar faces are increased. Simultaneously inducing such an aftereffect in opposite directions for two groups of faces might indicate discrete responding of the neural populations coding for those groups. Here we show such "category contingent" aftereffects following exposure to faces differing in eye-spacing (wide versus narrow) for European versus African faces, adult versus infant faces, and human versus monkey faces. As aftereffects reflect changes in responses of neural populations that code faces, our results may then suggest that functionally distinct neural populations code faces of different ages, races and species and that the human brain potentially contains discrete representations of these categories.

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