Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation (FPVS) (PDF of research program summary)

Visual stimulation of the human brain at a periodic rate (frequency F)  leads to periodic responses (F response and harmonics) that can be captured on the scalp by the electroencephalogram (EEG) (Adrian, 1934). These electrophysiological responses have been called "steady-state visual evoked potentials" (ssVEPs; Regan, 1966; see the extensive review of Norcia et al., 2015). They are very useful responses because, among other advantages, they are objective (i.e., they occur at a frequency defined by the experimenter) and have a very high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

In our studies with this fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) approach, we present face and object stimuli at relatively fast periodic rates (3-6 Hz or more), leading to periodic electrophysiological responses on the human scalp with a distinct topography (right occipito-temporal, see our first study with this approach Rossion & Boremanse, 2011). The property of interest, for instance face identity (e.g., Liu-Shuang et al., 2014), or the face as a category (Rossion et al., 2015), changes at this specific frequency rate, leading to large and specific markers of this property.

Using this FPVS approach, we have so far:

- Found robust markers of face identity discrimination in individual participants in a few minutes of stimulation (Rossion & Boremanse, 2011; Rossion et al., 2012; Liu-Shuang et al., 2014).

- Characterized these responses in terms of their sensitivity to size variations (Dzhelyova & Rossion, 2014a), and the separate contribution of shape and colour/texture to these individual face discirmination responses (Dzhelyova & Rossion, 2014b).

- Shown that individual face discrimination is optimal at a rate of about 5.88 Hz, namely when individual faces are separated by a stimulus onset asynchrony of 170 ms (Alonso-Prieto et al., 2013; Gentile & Rossion, 2014).

- Defined an objective threshold for the detection of a face independently of low-level cues (Ales et al., 2012), and shown that this threshold and the shape of the face detection function varies with stimulus orientation and contrast polarity (i.e., abrupt for upright faces, linear increase for inverted faces; Liu-Shuang et al., 2015).

- Obtained robust and objective selective responses to natural images of faces inserted among natural images of nonface objects at a 5.88 Hz both in adults (Rossion et al., 2015) and 4-6 months infants (de Heering & Rossion, 2015), demonstrating that the right hemisphere specialization fo faces emerges early in life.

- Obtained robust discrimination of words from pseudowords, nonwords and letterstrings over the left ocicpito-temporal cortex (Lochy et al., 2015).

- Provided objective evidence of perceptual integration of facial halves in the form of intermodulation EEG responses (e.g., f1=right half, f2 = left half, f1-f2= integrated representation, Boremanse et al., 2013; Boremanse et al., 2014).

- Found individual face discirmination inside the right inferior occipital cortex ("occipital face area", OFA) of a patient implanted with intracerebral electrodes (Jonas et al., 2014).

See a pdf file describing our research program with updated publication list and comments.


Related Publications


de Heering, A. & Rossion, B. (2015). Rapid categorization of natural face images in the infant right hemisphere. eLife 2015;4;e06564. [PDF]

Norcia, A.M., Appelbaum, L.G., Ales, J.M., Cottereau, B., Rossion, B. (2015). The steady-state visual evoked potential in vision research: a review. Journal of Vision, 15(6):4, 1-46. [PDF]

Liu-Shuang, J., Ales, J.M., Rossion, B., Norcia, A.M. (2015). Separable effects of inversion and contrast reversal on face detection thresholds and reponse functions: a sweep VEP study. Journal of Vision, 10;15(2). pii: 11. doi: 10.1167/15.2.11. [PDF]

Rossion, B., Torfs, K., Jacques, C., Liu-Shuang, J.  (2015). Fast periodic presentation of natural face images reveals a robust face-selective electrophysiological response in the human brain. Journal of Vision, 15, 1, 18. [PDFNatural Face Stimuli used in the study

Lochy, A., Van Belle, G., & Rossion, B. (2015). A robust index of lexical representation in the left occipito-temporal cortex as evidenced by EEG responses to fast periodic visual stimulation. Neuropsychologia, 66, 18-31. [PDF]

Liu-Shuang, J., Ales, J.M., Rossion, B., Norcia, A.M. (2015). The effect of contrast polarity reversal on face detection: evidence of perceptual asymmetry from sweep VEP. Vision Research, 108, 8-19. [PDF]



Jonas, J., Rossion, B., Krieg, J., Koessler, L., Colnat-Coulbois, S., Maillard, L., Frismand, S., Colnat-Coulbois, S., Vignal, J.-P., Vespignani, H., Jacques, C., Brissart, H., Maillard, L. (2014). Intracerebral electrical stimulation of a face-selective area in the right inferior occipital cortex impairs individual face discrimination. NeuroImage, 99, 487-497. [PDF] [videos]

Dzhelyova, M. & Rossion, B. (2014). The effect of parametric stimulus size variation on individual face discrimination indexed by fast periodic visual stimuliation. BMC Neuroscience, 15:87, 1-12. [PDF]

Dzhelyova, M. & Rossion, B. (2014). Supra-additive contribution of shape and surface information to individual face discrimination as revealed by fast periodic visual stimulation. Journal of Vision14(14):15, 1–14. [PDF]

Boremanse, A., Norcia, A.M., Rossion, B. (2014). Dissociation of part-based and integrated neural responses to faces by means of EEG frequency-tagging. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40, 2987-2997. [PDF][video].

REVIEW Rossion, B. (2014). Understanding face perception by means of human electrophysiology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences18, 310-318. [PDF

Jonas, J., Maillard, L., Frismand, S., Colnat-Coulbois, S., Vespignani, H., Rossion, B., Vignal, J.-P. (2014). Self-face hallucination evoked by electrical stimulation of the human brain. Neurology83(4), 336-338. [PDF] [videos]

REVIEW Rossion, B. (2014). Understanding individual face discrimination by means of fast periodic visual stimulation. Experimental Brain Research 232, 1599-1621. [PDF

Gentile, F., & Rossion, B. (2014). Temporal frequency tuning of cortical face-sensitive areas for individual face perception. NeuroImage, 90, 256-265. [PDF]

Liu-Shuang, J., Norcia, A.M.,  Rossion, B. (2014). An objective index of individual face discrimination in the right occipito-temporal cortex by means of fast periodic visual stimulation. Neuropsychologia, 52, 57-72. [PDF]


Prieto, E.A, Van Belle, G., Liu-Shuang, J., Norcia, A.M., Rossion, B. (2013). The 6Hz fundamental frequency rate for individual face discirmination in the right occipito-temporal cortex. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2863-2975. [PDF]

Boremanse, A., Norcia, A.M., Rossion, B. (2013). An objective signature for visual binding of face parts in the human brain. Journal of Vision (11):6, 1-18.[PDF][video].


Ales, J., Farzin, F., Rossion, B., Norcia, A.M. (2012). An objective method for measuring face detection thresholds using the sweep steady-state evoked response. Journal of Vision, 12(10):18, 1–18. [PDF]

Rossion, B., Alonso-Prieto, E., Boremanse, A., Kuefner, D., Van Belle, G. (2012). A steady-state visual evoked potential approach to individual face perception: effect of inversion, contrast-reversal and temporal dynamics. NeuroImage, 63, 1585-1600. [PDF]


Rossion, B. & Boremanse, A. (2011). Robust sensitivity to facial identity in the right human occipito-temporal cortex as revealed by steady-state visual-evoked potentials. Journal of Vision. 11(2):16, 1–21. [PDF]