High-level Adaptation Effects


Neuronal adaptation can be regarded as a mechanism by which perceptual processing is constantly re-calibrated as a result of specific characteristics of incoming stimuli. Adaptation has been demonstrated in the form of perceptual illusions or aftereffects. The first written record of this is ascribed to Aristotle, who observed that, following prolonged fixation of the downward motion of a waterfall, a static visual scene appears to move upward. In this “waterfall illusion” or, more generally, the “motion aftereffect”, a stationary stimulus appears to move in opposite direction to that of a previously fixated continuous visual motion. Perceptual adaptation is thought to result from the selective habituation after prolonged firing of neuronal populations that code specific stimulus attributes, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the “psychologist´s microelectrode”, as it can provide valuable insight into the neural fine tuning to special stimulus attributes in visual perception. However, while adaptation to simple stimulus attributes such as motion or colour has been known for literally hundreds of years, a striking novel discovery within the last couple of years is that adaptation is also of central importance for how humans perceive complex visual stimuli. Adaptation to male faces, for example, has been found to bias the subsequent perception of androgynous faces towards female gender. Similar adaptation effects have been observed for one of the most important visual social signals: Human eye gaze. Jenkins et al. (2006) found that adaptation to gaze into one direction virtually eliminated participants’ ability to perceive smaller gaze deviations into the same direction. With our project, we aim at a deeper understanding of high-level adaptation effects. We are interested into several aspects of high-level adaptation effects such as the interrelationship of similarity of adaptation and test stimulus, the longevity of adaptation effects, the neural correlates of adaptation as investigated with EEG or fMRI, and the potential links between perceptual adaptation and neuronal repetition suppression.

Selected Relevant Publications

Hayn-Leichsenring, G.U., Kloth, N., Schweinberger, S.R., & Redies, C. (2013). Adaptation effects to attractiveness of face photographs and art portraits are domain-specific.iPerception, 4, 303-316.

Kaiser, D., Walther, C. Schweinberger, S.R., & Kovács, G. (2013). Dissociating the neural bases of repetition-priming and adaptation in the human brain for faces. Journal of Neurophysiology, 110, 2727-2738.

Kloth, N., Rhodes, G., & Schweinberger, S.R. (2015). Absence of sex-contingent gaze direction aftereffects suggests a limit to contingencies in face aftereffects. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1829, 1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01829. (Link to PDF)

Kloth, N. & Schweinberger, S.R. (2010). Electrophysiological correlates of eye gaze adaptation. Journal of Vision, 10(12):17, 1-13, http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/12/17, doi:10.1167/10.12.17.

Kloth, N. & Schweinberger, S.R. (2008). The temporal decay of eye gaze adaptation effects.Journal of Vision, 8(11), 1-11.

Kloth, N., Schweinberger, S.R., & Jenkins, R. (2007). Are you looking at me? Neural correlates of eye gaze adaptation. Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, New York, 5-8 May, 2007.

Kloth, N., Schweinberger, S.R., & Kovács, G. (2010). Neural correlates of generic versus gender-specific face adaptation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(10), 2345-2356.

Kloth, N., Schweinberger, S.R., & Rhodes, G. (2017, in press). Watching the brain recalibrate: Neural correlates of renormalization during face adaptation. NeuroImage.

Kovács, G., Cziráki, C, Vidnyánszky, Z., Schweinberger, S.R., Greenlee, M.W. (2008). Position-specific and position invariant face aftereffects reflect the adaptation of different cortical areas. NeuroImage,43, 156-164.

Kovács, G., & Schweinberger, S.R. (2016). Repetition suppression – an integrative view. (Guest Editorial). Cortex, 80, 1-4. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2016.04.022. (Link to PDF)

Schweinberger, S.R., Casper, C., Hauthal, N., Kaufmann, J.M., Kawahara, H., Kloth, N., Robertson, D.M.C., Simpson, A.P., & Zäske, R. (2008). Auditory adaptation in voice perception. Current Biology, 18, 684-688.

Schweinberger, S.R., Kloth, N., & Jenkins, R. (2007). Are you looking at me? Neural correlates of gaze adaptation. NeuroReport, 18, 693-696.

Schweinberger, S.R., Walther, C., Zäske, R., & Kovács, G. (2011). Neural correlates of adaptation to voice identity. British Journal of Psychology, 102(4), 748-764.

Schweinberger, S.R., Zäske, R., Walther, C., Golle, J., Kovács, G., & Wiese, H. (2010). Young without Plastic Surgery: Perceptual adaptation to the age of female and male faces. Vision Research, 50, 2570-2576.

Skuk, V.G., Dammann, L.M., & Schweinberger, S.R. (2015). Role of timbre and fundamental frequency in voice gender adaptation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(2), 1180-1193. doi: 10.1121/1.4927696. (Link to PDF)

Vakli, P., Németh, K., Zimmer, M., Schweinberger, S.R., & Kovács, G. (2014). Altering second-order configurations reduces the adaptation effects on early face-sensitive event-related potential components. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 426, 1-8.

Walther, C., Schweinberger, S.R., Kaiser, D., Kovács, G. (2013). Neural correlates of priming and adaptation in familiar face perception. Cortex, 49(7), 1963-1977.

Walther, C., Schweinberger, S.R., Kovács, G. (2013). Adaptor identity modulates adaptation effects in familiar face identification and their neural correlates. PLoS One; 8(8): e70525.

Zäske, R., Fritz, C., & Schweinberger, S.R. (in press). Spatial inattention abolishes voice adaptation. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics.

Zäske, R., Schweinberger, S. R., Kaufmann, J. M., & Kawahara, H. (2009). In the ear of the beholder: neural correlates of adaptation to voice gender. European Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 527-534.

Zäske, R., Schweinberger, S.R., & Kawahara, H. (2010). Voice Aftereffects of Adaptation to Speaker Identity. Hearing Research, 268, 38-45.

Zäske. R., Skuk, V.G., Kaufmann, J.M., & Schweinberger, S.R. (2013). Perceiving vocal age and gender: An adaptation approach. Acta Psychologica, 144, 583-593.