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Famous faces demand attention due to reduced inhibitory processing.

Machado L, Guiney H, Mitchell A - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: We used a focused attention paradigm that tracks the influence of a distractor over time and provides a measure of inhibitory processing.The results revealed that although all of the stimuli elicited similar levels of distraction, only inverted distractor faces and non-face objects elicited inhibitory effects.The lack of inhibitory effects for upright famous faces provides novel evidence that reduced inhibitory processing underlies the mandatory nature of face processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. liana@psy.otago.ac.nz

ABSTRACT
People have particular difficulty ignoring distractors that depict faces. This phenomenon has been attributed to the high level of biological significance that faces carry. The current study aimed to elucidate the mechanism by which faces gain processing priority. We used a focused attention paradigm that tracks the influence of a distractor over time and provides a measure of inhibitory processing. Upright famous faces served as test stimuli and inverted versions of the faces as well as upright non-face objects served as control stimuli. The results revealed that although all of the stimuli elicited similar levels of distraction, only inverted distractor faces and non-face objects elicited inhibitory effects. The lack of inhibitory effects for upright famous faces provides novel evidence that reduced inhibitory processing underlies the mandatory nature of face processing.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Trial sequence.A distractor appeared above or below fixation at random and was either the same as (compatible) or different than (incompatible) a subsequent central target. The distractor and the target were both either upright or inverted, depending on the version. Participants identified the central target on all trials by pressing one of two buttons.
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pone-0020544-g001: Trial sequence.A distractor appeared above or below fixation at random and was either the same as (compatible) or different than (incompatible) a subsequent central target. The distractor and the target were both either upright or inverted, depending on the version. Participants identified the central target on all trials by pressing one of two buttons.

Mentions: To address the possibility that reduced inhibition underlies the mandatory nature of face processing, we utilized a focused attention paradigm that tracks the influence of a distractor over time and provides a measure of inhibitory processing [6], [7]. During each trial, a peripheral distractor appears prior to a central target, and the influence of the distractor on responses to the target are measured (see Figure 1). Our previous research using this paradigm and non-face stimuli established that distractors initially facilitate related processing, as evidenced by faster response times when the subsequent target matches the distractor compared to when the distractor and target are incompatible, which produces a positive compatibility effect. However, after a few hundred milliseconds, mounting inhibition of the distracting information delays responses to related stimuli, as evidenced by slower response times when the subsequent target matches the distractor compared to when the distractor and target are incompatible, which produces a negative compatibility effect. The magnitude of the negative compatibility effect indicates the extent to which the distractor was inhibited.


Famous faces demand attention due to reduced inhibitory processing.

Machado L, Guiney H, Mitchell A - PLoS ONE (2011)

Trial sequence.A distractor appeared above or below fixation at random and was either the same as (compatible) or different than (incompatible) a subsequent central target. The distractor and the target were both either upright or inverted, depending on the version. Participants identified the central target on all trials by pressing one of two buttons.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3105087&req=5

pone-0020544-g001: Trial sequence.A distractor appeared above or below fixation at random and was either the same as (compatible) or different than (incompatible) a subsequent central target. The distractor and the target were both either upright or inverted, depending on the version. Participants identified the central target on all trials by pressing one of two buttons.
Mentions: To address the possibility that reduced inhibition underlies the mandatory nature of face processing, we utilized a focused attention paradigm that tracks the influence of a distractor over time and provides a measure of inhibitory processing [6], [7]. During each trial, a peripheral distractor appears prior to a central target, and the influence of the distractor on responses to the target are measured (see Figure 1). Our previous research using this paradigm and non-face stimuli established that distractors initially facilitate related processing, as evidenced by faster response times when the subsequent target matches the distractor compared to when the distractor and target are incompatible, which produces a positive compatibility effect. However, after a few hundred milliseconds, mounting inhibition of the distracting information delays responses to related stimuli, as evidenced by slower response times when the subsequent target matches the distractor compared to when the distractor and target are incompatible, which produces a negative compatibility effect. The magnitude of the negative compatibility effect indicates the extent to which the distractor was inhibited.

Bottom Line: We used a focused attention paradigm that tracks the influence of a distractor over time and provides a measure of inhibitory processing.The results revealed that although all of the stimuli elicited similar levels of distraction, only inverted distractor faces and non-face objects elicited inhibitory effects.The lack of inhibitory effects for upright famous faces provides novel evidence that reduced inhibitory processing underlies the mandatory nature of face processing.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. liana@psy.otago.ac.nz

ABSTRACT
People have particular difficulty ignoring distractors that depict faces. This phenomenon has been attributed to the high level of biological significance that faces carry. The current study aimed to elucidate the mechanism by which faces gain processing priority. We used a focused attention paradigm that tracks the influence of a distractor over time and provides a measure of inhibitory processing. Upright famous faces served as test stimuli and inverted versions of the faces as well as upright non-face objects served as control stimuli. The results revealed that although all of the stimuli elicited similar levels of distraction, only inverted distractor faces and non-face objects elicited inhibitory effects. The lack of inhibitory effects for upright famous faces provides novel evidence that reduced inhibitory processing underlies the mandatory nature of face processing.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus