Allocation of attention to self-name and self-face: An ERP study

Biol Psychol. 2010 May;84(2):318-24. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Mar 16.


Self-related information, due to its high social/adaptive value, seems to have a preferential access to our attentional resources (cf. the cocktail party effect). However, it remains uncertain whether this attention preference is the same for different kinds of self-related cues. In this ERP study we showed that self-name and self-face when compared with other names and faces, produced very similar patterns of behavioral and neural responses, i.e., shorter reaction times (RTs) and enhanced P300. The processing of the two self-related cues did not differ between each other, neither in RTs nor in P300 responses. In fact, the amplitudes of P300 to self-name and self-face were correlated. These results suggest that the adaptive value of different kinds of self-related cues tends to be equal and they engage attention resources to a similar extent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Names*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Self Concept*
  • Young Adult