The Effects of Faces and the Preference for Different Object Types on the Generation of the N170 Event- Related Brain Potential

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. George S. Robinson Jr.



Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


Facial recognition is both essential and fundamental. In the brain the parietal-occipital stream controls object recognition. A person’s preference may modify their response towards another person or object. Faces are identified faster than other objects. The N170 event-related brain potential is a measure of object recognition. The amplitude within the N170 is associated with recognizing objects. We propose the amplitude of the N170 will be greater for Black female faces than other objects and scalp locations will have different amplitudes. Participants were students attending NCAT. Participants signed a consent form. Seven electrodes were applied to the scalp. Participants focused on one object at a time on the screen for one second per object. Participants were required to participate in three conditions involving 100 random objects (cars, dogs, flowers). Participants responded to, either a Black female face, or one of the other objects. A repeated samples t- test revealed a trend of faster reaction times towards faces versus objects, but it was not significant. Black female faces ranked significantly higher than other ethnicities. Participants responded faster to cars than dogs or flowers. The results confirm that faces are generally identified quicker relative to other objects. The data also suggest that preferences for within group faces is a mediator of facial recognition. The N170 amplitude for faces and objects showed no significant differences, except for dog faces versus Black female faces. Increase occurred in the N170 amplitude from parietal-occipital streams. Dogs and flowers showed significance in scalp differences in the N170 amplitude.

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