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What's special about personally familiar faces? A multimodal approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


G Herzmann, SR Schweinberger, W Sommer, Ines Jentzsch

School/Research organisations


Dual-route models of face recognition suggest separate cognitive and affective routes. The predictions of these models were assessed in recognition tasks with unfamiliar, famous, and personally familiar faces. Whereas larger autonomic responses were only triggered for personally familiar faces, priming effects in reaction times to these faces, presumably reflecting cognitive recognition processes, were equal to those of famous faces. Activation of stored structural representations of familiar faces (face recognition units) was assessed by recording the N250r component in event-related brain potentials. Face recognition unit activation increased from unfamiliar over famous to personally familiar faces, suggesting that there are stronger representations for personally familiar than for famous faces. Because the topographies of the N250r for personally and famous faces were indistinguishable, a similar network of face recognition units can be assumed for both types of faces.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)688-701
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004

    Research areas

  • face recognition models, skin conductance responses, event-related brain potentials, priming, personally known faces, EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS, BRAIN POTENTIALS, SCALP DISTRIBUTIONS, UNFAMILIAR FACES, NAME RECOGNITION, CAPGRAS DELUSION, REPETITION, PERCEPTION, CORTEX, DISSOCIATION

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