Pre-conference workshop: Visual mismatch negativity
Tuesday, Sep 8, 2015
SKH Z005

Automatic detection of configural processing of faces under non-attentional condition: a visual MMN

Wei Wang, Danmin Miao, & Lun Zhao1

1Psychological Research Center, Beijing Yiran Sunny, Beijing, China

It has been shown that adults’ expertise in recognizing faces is attributed to configural processing (i.e., processing not just the shapes of individual features but also the relations among them), whereas the object identification is mainly based on featural processing. In the first experiment, we investigated automatic configural processing of faces versus non-face objects under non-attentional condition by recording visual MMN. We found that compared with vMMNs in response to non-face (scrambled faces and face contour) stimuli, the vMMN elicited by the orientation change of faces was significantly enhanced with shorter latency. In a second experiment we investigated whether the second-order configural computation of own-race versus other-race faces automatically occurs under non-attentional condition. The results showed that own-race faces elicited larger vMMN than did other-race faces. These data provided electrophysiological evidence for automatic detection of configural changes of faces under unattended conditions.