Previous research suggests that adults more accurately identify faces in Low Spatial Frequency (LSF), which is supported by holistic processing, compared to High SF, supported by localized processing. The current study used magnetoencephalography to record the face-specific neuromagnetic M170 response to faces and butterflies presented in LSF, Broad SF and HSF. Child, adolescent and adult participants made face/object discriminations. Sensors of interest over left and right occipito-temporal scalp regions were grand-averaged over the 6 conditions. Results indicated that the peak M170 neuromagnetic response was greater and occurred earlier with increasing age. In adults, LSF faces elicited an earlier peak response compared to HSF faces. Similarly, in adolescents LSF faces elicited an earlier peak M170 response than HSF faces; however, in children there was no effect of SF on the latency of the peak M170 response. Results suggest an advantage of holistic face processing in adolescents and adults, but not children.
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