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Front Hum Neurosci. 2018 Feb 16;12:56. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00056. eCollection 2018.

Brain Activity Related to the Judgment of Face-Likeness: Correlation between EEG and Face-Like Evaluation.

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Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology, Toyohashi, Japan.
Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute, Toyohashi University of Technology, Toyohashi, Japan.


Faces represent important information for social communication, because social information, such as face-color, expression, and gender, is obtained from faces. Therefore, individuals' tend to find faces unconsciously, even in objects. Why is face-likeness perceived in non-face objects? Previous event-related potential (ERP) studies showed that the P1 component (early visual processing), the N170 component (face detection), and the N250 component (personal detection) reflect the neural processing of faces. Inverted faces were reported to enhance the amplitude and delay the latency of P1 and N170. To investigate face-likeness processing in the brain, we explored the face-related components of the ERP through a face-like evaluation task using natural faces, cars, insects, and Arcimboldo paintings presented upright or inverted. We found a significant correlation between the inversion effect index and face-like scores in P1 in both hemispheres and in N170 in the right hemisphere. These results suggest that judgment of face-likeness occurs in a relatively early stage of face processing.


ERP/EEG; face inversion effect; face perception; face-like patterns; pareidolia

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