From a face to its category via a few information processing states in the brain

Smith, M. L., Gosselin, F. and Schyns, P. G. (2007) From a face to its category via a few information processing states in the brain. NeuroImage, 37(3), pp. 974-984. (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.05.030) (PMID:17611125)

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Cognitive neuroscience assumes a correspondence between specific spatio-temporal patterns of neural activity and the states of a mechanism that processes cognitive information. Mechanistic explanations of cognition should therefore translate patterns of neural activity into the components of a formal mechanism: a set of information processing states and their transitions. For the first time, we carried out this research programme with four naive observers instructed to categorise randomly presented face information. With classification image techniques, we revealed the diagnostic features that the brain requires to produce correct behaviour (i.e., two eyes for gender categorisation in one session; the mouth for expression in the other session). With the same techniques applied to brain signals, we revealed the features processing states associated with modulations of oscillatory EEG energy (measured on occipito-temporal face-sensitive electrodes). Here we show how transitions between distinct feature processing states in the theta/alpha [4–12 Hz] oscillatory bands implement two face categorisations. On the left and right occipito-temporal electrodes of each observer, processing of the contra-lateral eye precedes bilateral integration of the features required for behaviour. For the first time, we relate stimulus information to behaviour via sequences of categorisation-specific feature processing states in the brain.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Dr Marie and Schyns, Professor Philippe
Authors: Smith, M. L., Gosselin, F., and Schyns, P. G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:NeuroImage
ISSN (Online):1095-9572
Published Online:25 May 2007

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
237861Basic-level Categorisation: A Computational Model and its Empirical TestingPhilippe SchynsEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)R000237901INP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING