COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCEThe N170 occipito-temporal component is delayed and enhanced to inverted faces but not to inverted objects an electrophysiological account of face-specific processes in the human brainRossion, B1,2,6; Gauthier, I3; Tarr, M J.4; Despland, P5; Bruyer, R1; Linotte, S1; Crommelinck, M2Author Information 1Unité de Neuropsychologie Cognitive (NECO), UCL, place du Cardinal Mercier 10, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve 2Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie (NEFY), UCL, Brussels, Belgium 3Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University 4Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University 5Unité d'Exploration du Système Nerveux, CHUV, Switzerland 6Corresponding Author and Address: B. Rossion, Unité de Neuropsychologie Cognitive (NECO), UCL, place du Cardinal Mercier 10, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve Acknowledgements: B.R. is supported by the Belgian National Fund For Scientific Research (FNRS). We thank R. Zoontjes, B. de Gelder and J.-F Delvenne for use of the stimuli. Received 28 September 1999; accepted 15 October 1999 NeuroReport: January 17, 2000 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - p 69–72 Buy Abstract Behavioral studies have shown that picture-plane inversion impacts face and object recognition differently, thereby suggesting face-specific processing mechanisms in the human brain. Here we used event-related potentials to investigate the time course of this behavioral inversion effect in both faces and novel objects. ERPs were recorded for 14 subjects presented with upright and inverted visual categories, including human faces and novel objects (Greebles). A N170 was obtained for all categories of stimuli, including Greebles. However, only inverted faces delayed and enhanced N170 (bilaterally). These observations indicate that the N170 is not specific to faces, as has been previously claimed. In addition, the amplitude difference between faces and objects does not reflect face-specific mechanisms since it can be smaller than between non-face object categories. There do exist some early differences in the time-course of categorization for faces and non-faces across inversion. This may be attributed either to stimulus category per se (e.g. face-specific mechanisms) or to differences in the level of expertise between these categories. © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.