ELECTRICAL NEUROIMAGING EVIDENCES OF SEX DIFFERENCES IN SOCIAL COGNITION: FACE PROCESSING

  • Alice Mado Proverbio

Abstract

It is currently believed that face processing predominantly activates the right hemisphere in humans, but available literature is very inconsistent. In this study, ERPs were recorded in 50 right- handed women and men in response to faces of different age and sex and technological objects. Results showed no sex difference in the amplitude of N170 to objects; a much larger face-specific response over the right hemisphere in men, and a bilateral response in women; a lack of face-age coding effect over the left hemisphere in men, with no differences in N170 to faces as a function of age; a significant bilateral face-age coding effect in women. LORETA reconstruction showed a significant left and right asymmetry in the activation of the fusiform gyrus (BA19), in women and men, respectively. The present data reveal a lesser degree of lateralization of brain functions related to face coding in women than men. In this light, they may provide an explanation of the inconsistencies in the available literature concerning the asymmetric activity of left and right occipito-temporal cortices devoted to face perception during processing of face identity, structure, familiarity or affective content.

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