Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and the Face Inversion Effect: Anodal stimulation at Fp3 reduces recognition for upright faces


Perceptual learning is a key perceptual skill that people possess, in particular, it contributes to their ability to distinguish between faces thus recognize individuals. Recently, we showed that anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at Fp3 abolishes the inversion effect (that would otherwise exist) for familiar checkerboards created from a prototype. Because of the close analogy between the inversion effect obtained with checkerboards, which we use as a marker for perceptual learning, and the traditional face inversion effect (upright faces recognized better than inverted ones), we investigated the effects of anodal tDCS at Fp3 during an old/new recognition task for upright and inverted faces. Results showed that stimulation significantly reduced the face inversion effect compared to controls. The effect was strongest in reducing recognition performance to upright faces. This result supports our account of perceptual learning and its role as a key factor in face recognition.

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