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Lateralized occipito-temporal N1 responses to images of salient distorted finger postures



Hsin-Yuan Chen

Associate Professor & Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience


For humans as social beings, other people’s hands are highly visually conspicuous. Exceptionally striking are hands in other than natural configuration which have been found to elicit distinct brain activation. Here we studied response strength and lateralization of this activation using event-related potentials (ERPs), in particular, occipitotemporal N1 responses as correlates of activation in extrastriate body area. Participants viewed computer-generated images of hands, half of them showing distorted fingers, the other half showing natural fingers. As control stimuli of similar geometric complexity, images of chairs were shown, half of them with distorted legs, half with standard legs. The contrast of interest was between distorted and natural/standard stimuli. For hands, stronger N1 responses were observed for distorted (vs natural) stimuli from 170 ms post stimulus. Such stronger N1 responses were found for distorted hands and absent for distorted chairs, therefore likely unrelated to visuospatial processing of the unusual distorted shapes. Rather, N1 modulation over both hemispheres - but robustly right-lateralized - could reflect distorted hands as emotionally laden stimuli. The results are in line with privileged visual processing of hands as highly salient body parts, with distortions engaging neural resources that are especially activated for biological stimuli in social perception.


Santo, M. G. E., Chen, H., & Schürmann, M. (in press). Lateralized occipito-temporal N1 responses to images of salient distorted finger postures. Scientific Reports, 7, Article 14129.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 9, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 26, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 1, 2017
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 14129
Public URL
Publisher URL


s41598-017-14474-x.pdf (1.5 Mb)

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