Modulation of the N170 adaptation profile by higher level factors

Stefan Schinkel*, Galina Ivanova, Juergen Kurths, Werner Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Event-related potentials provide strong evidence for a face-specific process that peaks at about 170 ms following stimulus onset - the N170 effect. The N170 has been shown to be sensitive to adaptation, reflected in an amplitude reduction by repeated face presentation, which is usually considered to be driven by bottom-up processes. Here we investigated whether the N170 adaptation profile can be modulated by top-down factors aiming at holistic or feature-based processing. Adaptor stimuli were Mooney faces, isolated facial features (eyes or mouths), or houses. Target faces required either a gender decision (holistic task), or a decision on a facial feature (detail task). We observed an intricate crossover interaction pattern, reflected in opposite effects on adaptation to Mooney faces and eyes as compared to mouth conditions. These findings provide evidence that adaptation effects can be modulated by top-down processes. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
Early online date12 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • ERP
  • N170
  • adaptation
  • face processing
  • face-sensitive N170
  • rapid adaptation
  • repetition
  • specificity
  • recognition
  • inversion
  • potentials
  • perception
  • mechanisms


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