Off-campus University of Richmond users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log in to our proxy server with your university username and password.

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Bukach


It has been long debated whether objects are processed according to a modular (Kanwisher, 2000) or expertise model (Gauthier, Tarr, Skudlarski, Moylan, Gore, & Anderson, 2000). The current study sought to further develop the research on the expertise model by deepening the understanding of perceptual expertise. Traditional ways of testing perceptual expertise include using novel objects called greebles in a standard paradigm (as in Gauthier, Tarr, & Tanaka, 1997). The current study changed the standard paradigm to better control for two different types of processes, holistic and single feature. It was hypothesized that these paradigm changes would still elicit the traditional two expertise processes in a more dissociable fashion than previously seen. It was also hypothesized that these expertise processes would show disparate cortical activity via opposite N170 ERP lateralizations. The first hypotheses was not supported. The new greeble paradigm itself did not induce holistic processing but instead most likely induced rapid serial processing. The second hypothesis was minimally supported. Single feature participants showed enhanced left N170 components for greebles at post-training while conjunction participants showed enhanced right N170 components for greebles at post-training. These results indicate that either the right N170 is responsible for both holistic and rapid serial processes, or that conjunction participants developed rapid serial processing after training but holistic processing at the post-training ERP test. Further investigations are necessary to definitively know the exact processes which occurred in this study.