Electrophysiological correlates of recollecting faces of known and unknown individuals

Ken A. Paller*, Brian Gonsalves, Marcia Grabowecky, Vladimir S. Bozic, Shishin Yamada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


We recorded brain potentials from healthy human subjects during a recognition test in order to monitor neural processing associated with face recollection. Subjects first attempted to memorize 40 faces; half were accompanied by a voice simulating that person speaking (e.g., 'I'm Jimmy and I was a roadie for the Grateful Dead') and half were presented in silence. In the test phase, subjects attempted to discriminate both types of old faces (i.e., 'named' and 'unnamed' faces) from new faces. Recognition averaged 87% correct for named faces, 74% correct for unnamed faces, and 91% correct for new faces. Potentials to old faces were more positive than those to new faces from 300 to 600 ms after face onset. For named faces, the old-new ERP difference was observed at anterior and posterior scalp locations. For unnamed faces, the old-new ERP difference was observed only at posterior scalp locations. Results from a prior experiment suggest that these effects do not reflect perceptual priming of faces. The posterior portion of the old- new ERP difference was thus interpreted as a neural correlate of retrieval of visual face information and the anterior portion as an indication of retrieval of person-specific semantic information. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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