A robust and representative lower bound on object processing speed in humans

Bieniek, M. M., Bennett, P. J., Sekuler, A. B. and Rousselet, G. A. (2016) A robust and representative lower bound on object processing speed in humans. European Journal of Neuroscience, 44(2), pp. 1804-1814. (doi: 10.1111/ejn.13100) (PMID:26469359) (PMCID:PMC4982026)

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How early does the brain decode object categories? Addressing this question is critical to constrain the type of neuronal architecture supporting object categorization. In this context, much effort has been devoted to estimating face processing speed. With onsets estimated from 50 ms to 150 ms, the timing of the first face-sensitive responses in humans remains controversial. This controversy is partially due to the susceptibility of dynamic brain measurements to filtering distortions and analysis issues. Here, using distributions of single-trial event-related potentials (ERPs), causal filtering, statistical analyses at all electrodes and time points, and effective correction for multiple comparisons, we present evidence that the earliest categorical differences start around 90 ms following stimulus presentation. These results were obtained from a representative group of 120 participants, aged 18-81, who categorised images of faces and noise textures. The results were reliable across testing days, as determined by test-retest assessment in 74 of the participants. Further, a control experiment showed similar ERP onsets for contrasts involving images of houses or white noise. Face onsets did not change with age, suggesting that face sensitivity occurs within 100 ms across the adult lifespan. Finally, the simplicity of the face-texture contrast, and the dominant midline distribution of the effects, suggest the face responses were evoked by relatively simple image properties and are not face specific. Our results provide a new lower benchmark for the earliest neuronal responses to complex objects in the human visual system.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rousselet, Dr Guillaume and Bieniek, Miss Magdalena
Authors: Bieniek, M. M., Bennett, P. J., Sekuler, A. B., and Rousselet, G. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:European Journal of Neuroscience
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1460-9568
Published Online:14 November 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Journal of Neuroscience 44(2):1804-1814
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
489271A new EEG technique to access object visual processing speed in younger and older adultsGuillaume RousseletEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/G023093/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING
591881Understanding age-related changes in processing facial emotionPhilippe SchynsBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/J018929/1INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING