Academic journal article Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience

Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Individual Differences in Face Cognition: A Replication and Extension

Academic journal article Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience

Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Individual Differences in Face Cognition: A Replication and Extension

Article excerpt

Published online: 31 December 2013

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Face cognition performance is related to individual differences in cognitive subprocesses, as reflected in the amplitudes and latencies of event-related brain potentials (ERPs; Herzmann, Kunina, Sommer, & Wilhelm, 2010). In order to replicate and extend these findings, 110 participants were tested on a comprehensive task battery measuring face cognition abilities and established cognitive abilities, followed by ERP recordings in a face-learning-and-recognition task. We replicated the links of the ERP components indicating the speed of structural face encoding (N170 latency) and access to structural representations in memory (early repetition effect [ERE]/ N250r) with the accuracy and speed of face cognition and with established cognitive abilities. As a novel result, we differentiated between the accuracy of face perception and face memory on the behavioral and electrophysiological levels and report a relationship between basic visual processes (P100 amplitude) and face memory. Moreover, the brain-behavior relationships for the ERE/N250r held true, even though we eliminated pictorial and perceptual structural codes from the priming effects by using backward masking of the primes with novel unfamiliar faces. On a methodological level, we demonstrated the utility of the latent difference score modeling technique to parameterize ERP difference components (e.g., ERE/N250r) on a latent level and link them to face cognition abilities.

Keywords Face cognition · ERP · Individual differences · Latent difference score modeling

Every day we encounter a multitude of faces in various contexts. Accurately perceiving, learning, and recognizing human faces are key abilities for communication and social interaction. Yet, great individual differences in these abilities are apparent. The origins and mechanisms of interindividual differences in this domain have been studied on psychometric (Wilhelm et al., 2010) and clinical (Duchaine & Nakayama, 2005) levels and in terms of the neural (Gauthier, Skudlarski, Gore, & Anderson, 2000;Gauthier&Tarr,2002) and genetic underpinnings (Wilmer et al., 2010). In two recent studies on individual differences (Hildebrandt, Wilhelm, Schmiedek, Herzmann, & Sommer, 2011; Wilhelm et al., 2010), three component abilities of face cognition were identified and replicated: the accuracy of face perception and accuracy of face memory, and the speed of face cognition . These abilities were clearly distinct from object cognition and from established cognitive abilities like working memory, figural reasoning , immediate and delayed memory,andmental speed . However, only few studies have aimed to investigate the relationships between performance measures of face cognition and neural processing at the level of individual differences. For example, Rotshtein, Geng, Driver, and Dolan (2007) manipulated features and second-order spatial relations in a face discrimination task and found spatial relation effects in bilateral inferior occipital gyrus and right fusiform that correlated with individual differences in (separately measured) behavioral sensitivity to those changes. Kaufmann, Schulz, and Schweinberger (2013) focused on second-order spatial relation in terms of photorealistic caricaturing effect by manipulating facial distinctiveness in a face recognition task with famous faces. Interestingly, they found group differences between low and high performers in the behavioral benefits gained by shape caricaturing and also in the modulation of amplitudes of event-related brain potential (ERP) components linked to the processing of shape (P200) and to face recognition (the early repetition effect [ERE]). Schretlen, Pearlson, Anthony, and Yates (2001) reported that the ventricle-to-brain ratio accounted for 25% of the variance in facial discrimination in the Benton face task. Although these studies provide some evidence for brain-behavior relationships of face cognition, their methodological approaches could be improved, since they investigated groups dichotomized according to performance or applied simple correlative measures between isolated tasks and single neurocognitive functions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.