Skip to main content Skip to search
Attention to Faces Modulates Early Face Processing during Low but not High Face Discriminability
Attention, perception & psychophysics
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: n/a
Pages: 837-846
Source ID: shanti-sources-23292
Zotero Collections: Contexts of Contemplation Project
Abstract: In the present study, we investigated if attention to faces results in sensory gain modulation. Participants were cued to attend to faces or scenes in superimposed face-scene images while face discriminability was parametrically manipulated across images. The face-sensitive N170 event-related potential component was used as a measure of early face processing. Attention to faces modulated N170 amplitude, but only when faces were not highly discriminable. Additionally, directing attention to faces modulated later processing (~230–300 msec) for all discriminability levels. These results demonstrate that attention to faces can modulate perceptual processing of faces at multiple stages of processing, including early sensory levels. Critically, the early attentional benefit is present only when the “face signal” (i.e., the perceptual quality of the face) in the environment is suboptimal.