Gender difference in N170 elicited under oddball task

J Physiol Anthropol. 2015 Mar 4;34(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s40101-015-0045-7.


Background: Some studies have reported gender differences in N170, a face-selective event-related potential (ERP) component. This study investigated gender differences in N170 elicited under oddball paradigm in order to clarify the effect of task demand on gender differences in early facial processing.

Findings: Twelve males and 10 females discriminated targets (emotional faces) from non-targets (emotionally neutral faces) under an oddball paradigm, pressing a button as quickly as possible in response to the target. Clear N170 was elicited in response to target and non-target stimuli in both males and females. However, females showed more negative amplitude of N170 in response to target compared with non-target, while males did not show different N170 responses between target and non-target.

Conclusions: The present results suggest that females have a characteristic of allocating attention at an early stage when responding to faces actively (target) compared to viewing faces passively (non-target). This supports previous findings suggesting that task demand is an important factor in gender differences in N170.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Face / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Young Adult