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Nat Commun. 2019 Mar 19;10(1):1258. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09239-1.

How face perception unfolds over time.

Dobs K1,2,3, Isik L4,5,6, Pantazis D4,5, Kanwisher N4,5,6.

Author information

1
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA. katharina.dobs@gmail.com.
2
McGovern Institute of Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA. katharina.dobs@gmail.com.
3
The Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA. katharina.dobs@gmail.com.
4
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
5
McGovern Institute of Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.
6
The Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.

Abstract

Within a fraction of a second of viewing a face, we have already determined its gender, age and identity. A full understanding of this remarkable feat will require a characterization of the computational steps it entails, along with the representations extracted at each. Here, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure the time course of neural responses to faces, thereby addressing two fundamental questions about how face processing unfolds over time. First, using representational similarity analysis, we found that facial gender and age information emerged before identity information, suggesting a coarse-to-fine processing of face dimensions. Second, identity and gender representations of familiar faces were enhanced very early on, suggesting that the behavioral benefit for familiar faces results from tuning of early feed-forward processing mechanisms. These findings start to reveal the time course of face processing in humans, and provide powerful new constraints on computational theories of face perception.

PMID:
30890707
PMCID:
PMC6425020
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-019-09239-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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