Brain responses to repetitions of human and animal faces, inverted faces, and objects - An MEG study

Stefan R. Schweinberger*, Jürgen M. Kaufmann, Stephan Moratti, Andreas Keil, A. Mike Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have identified a prominent face-selective ERP response to immediate repetitions of faces ∼ 250 ms (N250r) which was strongly attenuated or eliminated for control stimuli (Schweinberger, Huddy, and Burton 2004, NeuroReport, 15, 1501-1505). In the present study we used a 148-channel whole head neuromagnetometer to investigate event-related magnetic fields (ERMFs) elicited by repetitions of exemplars of human faces, inverted human faces, primate faces, and car fronts. Participants counted rare pictures of butterflies interspersed in a series of pairs of one of these categories. The second stimulus of each pair could either be a repetition or a non-repetition of the first stimulus. We observed prominent M100 (90-140 ms) and M170 (140-220 ms) responses. Both M100 and M170 were insensitive to repetition and showed little differences between stimulus categories, except for a slight increase and delay of M170 to inverted faces. By contrast, we observed a repetition-sensitive M250r response (220-330 ms). This M250r was larger for upright human and primate faces when compared to both inverted human faces and cars, a finding that was specific for right hemispheric sensors. Source localization suggested different generators for M170 and M250r in occipitotemporal and fusiform areas, respectively. These findings suggest that repetition-sensitive brain activity ∼ 250 ms reflects the transient activation of object representations, with largest responses for upright faces, in the right hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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