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Front Psychol. 2012 Mar 7;3:66. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00066. eCollection 2012.

Shared or separate mechanisms for self-face and other-face processing? Evidence from adaptation.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University College Dublin Dublin, Ireland.


Evidence that self-face recognition is dissociable from general face recognition has important implications both for models of social cognition and for our understanding of face recognition. In two studies, we examine how adaptation affects the perception of personally familiar faces, and we use a visual adaptation paradigm to investigate whether the neural mechanisms underlying the recognition of one's own and other faces are shared or separate. In Study 1 we show that the representation of personally familiar faces is rapidly updated by visual experience with unfamiliar faces, so that the perception of one's own face and a friend's face is altered by a brief period of adaptation to distorted unfamiliar faces. In Study 2, participants adapted to images of their own and a friend's face distorted in opposite directions; the contingent aftereffects we observe are indicative of separate neural populations, but we suggest that these reflect coding of facial identity rather than of the categories "self" and "other."


adaptation; familiar face; personal familiarity; self-face

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