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Face Repetition Effects in Implicit and Explicit Tasks: An Event-related Brain Potentials Study

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MU Trenner, SR Schweinberger, Ines Jentzsch, W Sommer

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We investigated immediate repetition effects on event-related potentials (ERPs) during direct and indirect tasks for sequentially presented face pairs. The first face (H) was presented masked or unmasked, and at different stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs, 67 vs. 1000 ms) preceding the second face (F2). Experiment I (indirect task) required a semantic classification of F2, with F I identity being irrelevant. Experiment 11 (direct task) used the same stimulus sequence but required a physical identity matching of F1 and F2. Whereas no masked repetition effects in behaviour or ERPs were seen, such effects were clearly shown for unmasked F1 faces. For short SOAs, an early-onset (similar to100 ms) occipital repetition effect, an inferior temporal N250r (200-300 ms) and a central-parietal N400 modulation (300-500 ms) were seen in both tasks, whereas a parietal P600 effect (500-800 ms) was only present in the indirect task. For long SOAs, the early occipital effect disappeared, suggesting that it reflects a fast decaying iconic memory trace. Clear task differences were seen for N250r, N400, and P600 modulations: P600 was larger for the indirect task, and may be a correlate of semantic analysis required by this task. By contrast, N250r and N400 were larger for the direct task, suggesting that these components are sensitive to task relevance and/or attentional focus to F1, and thus do not reflect purely automatic facilitation in processing. This suggests an influence of strategic processing on the activation of both perceptual representations of faces and semantic representations of people. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights resesrved.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-400
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004

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