Early influence of prior experience on face perception. - Inria - Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique Access content directly
Journal Articles NeuroImage Year : 2011

Early influence of prior experience on face perception.


Inferring someone's personality from his or her photograph is a pervasive and automatic behavior that takes place even if no reliable information about one's character can be derived solely from facial features. This illustrates nicely the idea that perception is not a passive process, but rather an active combination of current sensory inputs with endogenous knowledge derived from prior experience. To understand how and when neural responses to faces can be modulated by prior experience, we recorded magneto-encephalographic (MEG) responses to new faces, before and after subjects were exposed for a short period of 15-20 min to an experimentally induced association between a facial feature (inter-eye distance) and a response (personality judgment). In spite of the absence of any observable response bias following such a short reinforcement phase, our experimental manipulation influenced neural responses to faces as early as 60-85 ms. Source localization of magneto-encephalographic signals, confirmed by intracranial recordings, suggests that prior experience modulates early neural processing along two initially independent neural routes, one initiated in an anterior system that includes the orbitofrontal cortex and the temporal poles, and the second one involving face-sensitive regions in the ventral visual pathway. The two routes are both active as early as 60 ms but engage in reciprocal interactions only later, between 135 and 160 ms. These experimental findings support recent models assuming the existence of a fast anterior pathway activated in parallel with the ventral visual system which would link prior experience with current sensory inputs.

Dates and versions

hal-00795746 , version 1 (28-02-2013)



Lucile Gamond, Nathalie George, Jean-Didier Lemaréchal, Laurent Hugueville, Claude Adam, et al.. Early influence of prior experience on face perception.. NeuroImage, 2011, 54 (2), pp.1415-26. ⟨10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.08.081⟩. ⟨hal-00795746⟩
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