EEG-MEG evidence for early differential repetition effects for fearful, happy and neutral faces.Brain Res. 2009 Feb 13; 1254:84-98.BR
To determine how emotional information modulates subsequent traces for repeated stimuli, we combined simultaneous electro-encephalography (EEG) and magneto-encephalography (MEG) measures during long-lag incidental repetition of fearful, happy, and neutral faces. Repetition effects were modulated by facial expression in three different time windows, starting as early as 40-50 ms in both EEG and MEG, then arising at the time of the N170/M170, and finally between 280-320 ms in MEG only. The very early repetition effect, observed at 40-50 ms over occipito-temporo-parietal regions, showed a different MEG topography according to the facial expression. This differential response to fearful, happy and neutral faces suggests the existence of very early discriminative visual processing of expressive faces, possibly based on the low-level physical features typical of different emotions. The N170 and M170 face-selective components both showed repetition enhancement selective to neutral faces, with greater amplitude for emotional than neutral faces on the first but not the second presentation. These differential repetition effects may reflect valence acquisition for the neutral faces due to repetition, and suggest a combined influence of emotion- and experience-related factors on the early stage of face encoding. Finally, later repetition effects consisted in enhanced M300 (MEG) between 280 and 320 ms for fearful relative to happy and neutral faces that occurred on the first presentation, but levelled out on the second presentation. This effect may correspond to the higher arousing value of fearful stimuli that might habituate with repetition. Our results reveal that multiple stages of face processing are affected by the repetition of emotional information.