Jason Bell, David C.Burr, Kate Crookes, Maria Concetta Morrone

Perceptual oscillations in gender classification of faces, contingent on stimulus history

iScience Volume 23, Issue 10, 23 October 2020, 101573

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2020.101573 Download

Perception is a proactive ‘‘predictive’’ process, in which the brain takes advantage of past experience to make informed guesses about the world to test against sensory data. Here we demonstrate that in the judgment of the gender of faces, beta rhythms play an important role in communicating perceptual experience. Observers classified in forced choice as male or female, a sequence of face stimuli, which were physically constructed to be male or female or androgynous (equal morph). Classification of the androgynous stimuli oscillated rhythmically between male and female, following a complex waveform comprising 13.5 and 17 Hz. Parsing the trials based on the preceding stimulus showed that responses to androgynous stimuli preceded by male stimuli oscillated reliably at 17 Hz, whereas those preceded by female stimuli oscillated at 13.5 Hz. These results suggest that perceptual priors for face perception from recent perceptual memory are communicated through frequency-coded beta rhythms.