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The effect of face inversion on intracranial and scalp recordings of event-related potentials


  • The authors thank Dr. Peter Trautner for programming the stimulation paradigm and Dr. Vera Dinkelacker for collecting the face stimuli from various webpage sources. We also thank Dr. Bruno Rossion and other anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. The study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Transregional Collaborative Research Centre SFB/TR 3, project A3).

Address reprint requests to: T. Rosburg, Department of Psychology, Experimental Neuropsychology Unit, Saarland University, P.O. Box 151150, D-66041 Saarbrücken, Germany. E-mail:


The face inversion effect (FIE) refers to a disproportionate disruption of the processing of face information by inverting faces. We investigated the FIE in epilepsy patients by simultaneous intracranial and scalp recordings of event-related potentials (ERPs). In scalp recordings, a typical FIE on ERPs was observed with increased latencies and amplitudes of the positive counterpart of the occipito-temporal N170, namely, the vertex positive potential (VPP), in response to inverted faces. Similar amplitude and latency increases were revealed for the intracranial N200 recorded over face-sensitive and non-face-sensitive areas in the lateral occipital cortex, but not in the ventral temporal cortex. Peak latencies did not differ between the scalp VPP and intracranial N200. Findings indicate that the lateral occipital cortex but not the ventral temporal cortex contributes primarily to the FIE observed in scalp recordings.