Breakthrough Percepts of Famous Faces

Howard Bowman, Abdulmajeed Alsufyani, Omid Hajilou, Alexia Zoumpoulaki, Marco Filetti, Christopher Solomon, Stuart Gibson, Roobaea Alroobaea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
225 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, we showed that presenting salient names (i.e. a participant’s first name) on the fringe of awareness (in Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) breaks through into awareness, resulting in the generation of a P3, which (if concealed information is presented) could be used to differentiate between deceivers and non-deceivers (Bowman et al., 2013; Bowman, Filetti, Alsufyani, Janssen, & Su, 2014). The aim of the present study was to explore whether face stimuli can be used in an ERP-based RSVP paradigm to infer recognition of broadly familiar faces. To do this, we explored whether famous faces differentially break into awareness when presented in RSVP and, importantly, whether ERPs can be used to detect these ‘breakthrough’ events on an individual basis. Our findings provide evidence that famous faces are differentially perceived and processed by participants’ brains as compared to novel (or unfamiliar) faces. EEG data revealed large differences in brain responses between these conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date4 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2018


  • Familiarity.
  • famous faces
  • P3
  • RSVP
  • time-frequency analyses
  • deception detection


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