The Face-Sensitive N170 Component of the Event-Related Brain Potential

Martin Eimer

in Oxford Handbook of Face Perception

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559053
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Face-Sensitive N170 Component of the Event-Related Brain Potential


This article introduces the N170 component and event related potential methodologies and interpretation, and provides a brief review of some important research questions that are addressed by employing the N170 as an electrophysiological marker of face processing. It discusses the basic properties of the N170 component, its neural basis, as well as some methodological issues needed when using this component to study face-specific processes, and when evaluating the results from previous N170 experiments. A recent methodological challenge to the claim that the N170 reliably reflects face-specific brain processes is evaluated. The article reviews research that has employed the N170 component to investigate two central and interrelated issues in face processing. It deals with the domain-specificity or generality of face processing, as well as the possible role of expertise. Finally, some avenues for future research are outlined.

Keywords: N170 component; face processing; brain processes; domain-specificity; event related potential

Article.  9321 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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