Social personality traits influence neural response to human and cartoon faces

Celeste Cheung

Supervisor: Dr James McPartland

Course: MSc in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology

Despite the impairments in veridical face perception, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder were shown to exhibit typical cartoon faces perception.

This study investigates the influence of extraversion and attachment style on the event-related potential (ERP) associated with veridical and cartoon face processing. 23 healthy adults completed two self-report questionnaires and ERPs were recorded to images of veridical and cartoon faces in upright and inverted conditions.

The expected effect of inversion was observed in extroverts but was absent in introverts. Neural response to cartoon stimuli was comparable to that elicited by veridical faces, and attachment style did not have a significant effect on the N170. The findings indicate that personality traits modulate the neural mechanisms of face processing.


  • Cheung, C., Rutherford, HJV., Mayes, LC. & McPartland, J. (2010). Social personality traits are reflected in neural responses to faces. Social Neuroscience, 5: 351-359