Reference : Contrast adaptation in face perception revealed through EEG and behavior
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Contrast adaptation in face perception revealed through EEG and behavior
Gwinn, O. Scott []
Retter, Talia mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS) >]
O'Neil, S. F. []
Webster, M. A. []
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Frontiers Media S.A.
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] Exposure to a face can produce biases in the perception of subsequent faces. Typically, these face aftereffects are studied by adapting to an individual face or category (e.g., faces of a given gender) and can result in renormalization of perceptions such that the adapting face appears more neutral. These shifts are analogous to chromatic adaptation, where a renormalization for the average adapting color occurs. However, in color vision, adaptation can also adjust to the variance or range of colors in the distribution. We examined whether this variance or contrast adaptation also occurs for faces, using an objective EEG measure to assess response changes following adaptation. An average female face was contracted or expanded along the horizontal or vertical axis to form four images. Observers viewed a 20 s sequence of the four images presented in a fixed order at a rate of 6 Hz, while responses to the faces were recorded with EEG. A 6 Hz signal was observed over right occipito-temporal channels, indicating symmetric responses to the four images. This test sequence was repeated after 20 s adaptation to alternations between two of the faces (e.g., horizontal contracted and expanded). This adaptation resulted in an additional signal at 3 Hz, consistent with asymmetric responses to adapted and non-adapted test faces. Adapting pairs have the same mean (undistorted) as the test sequence and thus should not bias responses driven only by the mean. Instead, the results are consistent with selective adaptation to the distortion axis. A 3 Hz signal was also observed after adapting to face pairs selected to induce a mean bias (e.g., expanded vertical and expanded horizontal), and this signal was not significantly different from that observed following adaption to a single image that did not form part of the test sequence (e.g., a single image expanded both vertically and horizontally). In a further experiment, we found that this variance adaptation can also be observed behaviorally. Our results suggest that adaptation calibrates face perception not only for the average characteristics of the faces we experience but also for the gamut of faces to which we are exposed.

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