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My face or yours? Event-related potential correlates of self-face processing

, : My face or yours? Event-related potential correlates of self-face processing. Brain and Cognition 72(2): 244-254

The neural basis of self-recognition is mainly studied using brain-imaging techniques which reveal much about the localization of self-processing in the brain. There are comparatively few studies using EEG which allow us to study the time course of self-recognition. In this study, participants monitored a sequence of images, including 20 distinct images of their own face, a friend's face and a stranger's face articulating different speech sounds, while EEG was recorded from 64 scalp electrodes. Differences in the ERP waveforms were observed very early on, with increased N170 and VPP amplitude to self relative to both friend and stranger measured over posterior and fronto-central sites, respectively. This 'self effect' was also marked at approximately 250ms where P2/N2 amplitude was significantly reduced for self-faces. By comparison, differences between friend and stranger faces did not emerge until 250ms and beyond, where a more conventional 'familiarity effect' was observed. The data also point to a 'less lateralized' representation of self over posterior sites. These findings are consistent with both behavioral and fMRI studies which suggest that self-face processing is 'special' and are discussed with reference to EEG studies of face processing.


PMID: 19854553

DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.09.006

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