The effect of scrambling upright and inverted faces on the N170
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
© Experimental Psychology Society 2017.
The face inversion effect refers to a decrement in performance when we try to recognise familiar faces turned upside down (inverted), compared to familiar faces presented in their usual (upright) orientation. Recently, we have demonstrated that the inversion effect can also be found with checkerboards drawn from prototype-defined categories when the participants have been trained with these categories, suggesting that factors such as expertise and the relationships between stimulus features, may be important determinants of this effect. We also demonstrated that the typical inversion effect on the N170 seen with faces is found with checkerboards, suggesting that modulation of the N170 is a marker for disruption in the use of configural information. In the present experiment, we first demonstrate that our scrambling technique greatly reduces the inversion effect in faces. Following this, we used Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) recorded while participants performed an Old/New recognition study on normal and scrambled faces presented in both upright and inverted orientations to investigate the impact of scrambling on the N170. We obtained the standard robust inversion effect for normal faces: The N170 was both larger and delayed for normal inverted faces as compared to normal upright faces, whereas a significantly reduced inversion effect was recorded for scrambled faces. These results show that the inversion effect on the N170 is greater for normal compared to scrambled faces, and we interpret the smaller effect for scrambled faces as being due to the reduction in expertise for those faces consequent on scrambling
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 743702
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Published online 01 January 2018.