Saturday, October 27, 2007

The timecourse of higher-level face aftereffects.

Rhodes G, Jeffery L, Clifford CW, Leopold DA.
Vision Res. 2007 Aug;47(17):2291-6. Epub 2007 Jul 9

Perceptual aftereffects for simple visual attributes processed early in the cortical hierarchy increase logarithmically with adapting duration and decay exponentially with test duration. This classic timecourse has been reported recently for a face identity aftereffect [Leopold, D. A., Rhodes, G., Müller, K.-M., & Jeffery, L. (2005). The dynamics of visual adaptation to faces. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 272, 897-904], suggesting that the dynamics of visual adaptation may be similar throughout the visual system. An alternative interpretation, however, is that the classic timecourse is a flow-on effect of adaptation of a low-level, retinotopic component of the face identity aftereffect. Here, we examined the timecourse of the higher-level (size-invariant) components of two face aftereffects, the face identity aftereffect and the figural face aftereffect. Both showed the classic pattern of logarithmic build-up and exponential decay. These results indicate that the classic timecourse of face aftereffects is not a flow-on effect of low-level retinotopic adaptation, and support the hypothesis that dynamics of visual adaptation are similar at higher and lower levels of the cortical visual hierarchy. They also reinforce the perceptual nature of face aftereffects, ruling out demand characteristics and other post-perceptual factors as plausible accounts.

PMID: 17619045

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