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Behavioral face recognition performance correlates with an electrophysiological index of individual face discrimination obtained by fast periodic oddball stimulation

61.21, Wednesday, 21-May, 8:15 am - 9:45 am, Talk Room 2
Session: Individual differences

Buyun Xu1, James Tanaka1, Bruno Rossion2, Joan Liu-Shuang2; 1Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, 2Face categorization lab, University of Louvain, Belgium

The current study measured electrophysiological response to periodic oddball stimulation of faces (Liu-Shuang et al., 2013) from 34 participants, and correlated the magnitude of this visual response with face recognition performance as measured by the Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT, Duchaine & Nakayama, 2006). During a stimulation sequence, a face picture (A) was presented at the frequency of 6 Hz (F, 6 faces/second) for 60-seconds, with different oddball faces (B, C, DÂ…) being presented at every 5th cycle (F/5=1.2 Hz) (i.e., AAAABAAAACAAAAD....). In the electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded from only 4 trials of stimulation (60-seconds each), the generic visual responses associated with the general neural responsiveness to the periodic stimulation emerged at 6 Hz and harmonics (12 Hz, 18 Hz, etc.) in all 32 channels, with the largest responses over medial occipital locations. The specific responses at 1.2 Hz and harmonics (2.4 Hz, 3.6 Hz, etc.) specifically indexing individual face discrimination were also present, peaking over occipito-temporal locations (as in Liu-Shuang et al., 2013). The magnitude of the generic component at the medial occipital locations did not correlate with CFMT score (r=-0.27, p=0.14). However, the magnitude of the specific component at occipital-temporal locations showed a trend to be significantly correlated with the CFMT score (r=0.32, p=0.08). This correlation reached significance (r=0.40, p=0.02) when individual differences in the general neural responsiveness to periodic stimulation were taken into account by normalizing (i.e., dividing) the magnitude of the specific response with that of the generic response. Overall, these findings suggest that, without an explicit face discrimination task, the electrophysiological response elicited by the periodic oddball stimulation is able to provide a reliable neural index of individual differences in face recognition ability.

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