Temporal dynamics of the face familiarity effect: bootstrap analysis of single-subject event-related potential data

Esther Alonso-Prieto, Raika Pancaroglu, Kirsten A. Dalrymple, Todd Handy, Jason J.S. Barton, Ipek Oruc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Prior event-related potential studies using group statistics within a priori selected time windows have yielded conflicting results about familiarity effects in face processing. Our goal was to evaluate the temporal dynamics of the familiarity effect at all time points at the single-subject level. Ten subjects were shown faces of anonymous people or celebrities. Individual results were analysed using a point-by-point bootstrap analysis. While familiarity effects were less consistent at later epochs, all subjects showed them between 130 and 195 ms in occipitotemporal electrodes. However, the relation between the time course of familiarity effects and the peak latency of the N170 was variable. We concluded that familiarity effects between 130 and 195 ms are robust and can be shown in single subjects. The variability of their relation to the timing of the N170 potential may lead to underestimation of familiarity effects in studies that use group-based statistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-282
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) [grant number MOP-106511]. Jason J. Barton was supported by a Canada Research Chair. Ipek Oruc was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant [grant number RGPIN 402654–11].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • bootstrap
  • electroencephalography
  • face perception
  • familiarity
  • temporal dynamics


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