Role of fusiform and anterior temporal cortical areas in facial recognition

Athinioula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, 149 13th St., Charlestown, MA 02129, USA. Electronic address: .
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 08/2012; 63(3):1743-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.08.031
Source: PubMed


Recent fMRI studies suggest that cortical face processing extends well beyond the fusiform face area (FFA), including unspecified portions of the anterior temporal lobe. However, the exact location of such anterior temporal region(s), and their role during active face recognition, remain unclear. Here we demonstrate that (in addition to FFA) a small bilateral site in the anterior tip of the collateral sulcus ('AT'; the anterior temporal face patch) is selectively activated during recognition of faces but not houses (a non-face object). In contrast to the psychophysical prediction that inverted and contrast reversed faces are processed like other non-face objects, both FFA and AT (but not other visual areas) were also activated during recognition of inverted and contrast reversed faces. However, response accuracy was better correlated to recognition-driven activity in AT, compared to FFA. These data support a segregated, hierarchical model of face recognition processing, extending to the anterior temporal cortex.

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Available from: Shahin Nasr, Apr 30, 2014
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    • "c o m / l o c a t e / v i s r e s typically darker than the skin). However, studies that have applied contrast negation to face pictures have typically used Caucasian (i.e., white skin) faces, so that contrast negation reduced the overall luminance of the stimulus (Bruce & Langton, 1994; Galper, 1970; Nasr & Tootell, 2012; Itier & Taylor, 2002; Ohayon et al., 2012; Farroni et al., 2005; Itier, Latinus, & Taylor, 2006; Nederhouser et al., 2007; Otsuka et al., 2012; Russell et al., 2006; Vuong et al., 2005; Yue et al., 2013). Hence, the representation of positive and negative contrast faces is not directly comparable in the vast majority of studies (with the exception of the a few studies that controlled for luminance: George et al., 1999; Liu et al., 1999; Tomalski & Johnson, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Contrast polarity inversion (i.e., turning dark regions light and vice versa) impairs face perception. We investigated the perceptual asymmetry between positive and negative polarity faces (matched for overall luminance) using a sweep VEP approach in the context of face detection (Journal of Vision 12 (2012) 1–18). Phase-scrambled face stimuli alternated at a rate of 3 Hz (6 images/s). The phase coherence of every other stimulus was parametrically increased so that a face gradually emerged over a 20-s stimulation sequence, leading to a 3 Hz response reflecting face detection. Contrary to the 6 Hz response, reflecting low-level visual processing, this 3 Hz response was larger and emerged earlier over right occipito-temporal channels for positive than negative polarity faces. Moreover, the 3 Hz response emerged abruptly to positive polarity faces, whereas it increased linearly for negative polarity faces. In another condition, alternating between a positive and a negative polarity face also elicited a strong 3 Hz response, indicating an asymmetrical representation of positive and negative polarity faces even at supra-threshold levels (i.e., when both stimuli were perceived as faces). Overall, these findings demonstrate distinct perceptual representations of positive and negative polarity faces, independently of low-level cues, and suggest qualitatively different detection processes (template-based matching for positive polarity faces vs. linear accumulation of evidence for negative polarity faces).
    Vision Research 01/2015; 108. DOI:10.1016/j.visres.2015.01.001 · 1.82 Impact Factor
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    • "Face-sensitive areas were localized using a " faces > objects " contrast with a statistical threshold of P < 0.0001 (uncorrected) except that we used a threshold of P < 0.001 to localize fATL. This compares favorably with other papers that investigated fATL (Rajimehr et al 2009; Nasr and Tootell 2012; Axelrod and Yovel 2013). We localized the object-selective areas using an " objects > scrambled objects " contrast with a threshold of P < 10 −8 (uncorrected). "
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    ABSTRACT: Macaque neurophysiology found image-invariant representations of face identity in a face-selective patch in anterior temporal cortex. A face-selective area in human anterior temporal lobe (fATL) has been reported, but has not been reliably identified, and its function and relationship with posterior face areas is poorly understood. Here, we used fMRI adaptation and neuropsychology to ask whether fATL contains image-invariant representations of face identity, and if so, whether these representations require normal functioning of fusiform face area (FFA) and occipital face area (OFA). We first used a dynamic localizer to demonstrate that 14 of 16 normal subjects exhibit a highly selective right fATL. Next, we found evidence that this area subserves image-invariant representation of identity: Right fATL showed repetition suppression to the same identity across different images, while other areas did not. Finally, to examine fATL's relationship with posterior areas, we used the same procedures with Galen, an acquired prosopagnosic who lost right FFA and OFA. Despite the absence of posterior face areas, Galen's right fATL preserved its face selectivity and showed repetition suppression comparable to that in controls. Our findings suggest that right fATL contains image-invariant face representations that can persist despite the absence of right FFA and OFA, but these representations are not sufficient for normal face recognition. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:
    Cerebral Cortex 12/2014; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhu289 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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    • "As expected, the larger visual stimuli evoked a correspondingly stronger response throughout well-established visual cortex. Based on additional localizing scans (see Methods), these visual areas ranged from early retinotopic areas (V1/V2/V3) through higher-level category-selective areas including the fusiform face area (FFA) (Kanwisher et al. 1997; Nasr and Tootell 2012), the (PPA) (Epstein and Kanwisher 1998; Nasr et al. 2011), the TOS (Grill-Spector 2003; Dilks et al. 2013), the lateral occipital complex (LOC; Malach et al. 1995; Grill-Spector et al. 2001), and even a small visually driven site within the anterior temporal cortex (AT; Rajimehr et al. 2009; Nasr and Tootell 2012; Avidan et al. 2014). Consistent with our hypothesis, activity in the DMN core areas (i.e., PCC and mPFC) decreased in response to retinally larger (rather than smaller) visual stimuli (Fig. 1B). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have attributed multiple diverse roles to the posterior superior temporal cortex (STC), both visually driven and cognitive, including part of the default mode network (DMN). Here, we demonstrate a unifying property across this multimodal region. Specifically, the lateral intermediate (LIM) portion of STC showed an unexpected feature: a progressively decreasing fMRI response to increases in visual stimulus size (or number). Such responses are reversed in sign, relative to well-known responses in classic occipital temporal visual cortex. In LIM, this "reversed" size function was present across multiple object categories and retinotopic eccentricities. Moreover, we found a significant interaction between the LIM size function and the distribution of subjects' attention. These findings suggest that LIM serves as a part of the DMN. Further analysis of functional connectivity, plus a meta-analysis of previous fMRI results, suggests that LIM is a heterogeneous area including different subdivisions. Surprisingly, analogous fMRI tests in macaque monkeys did not reveal a clear homolog of LIM. This interspecies discrepancy supports the idea that self-referential thinking and theory of mind are more prominent in humans, compared with monkeys. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press.
    Cerebral Cortex 12/2014; DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhu290 · 8.67 Impact Factor
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