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Neuroreport. 1999 Jan 18;10(1):183-7.

The fusiform face area is selective for faces not animals.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


To test whether the human fusiform face area (FFA) responds not only to faces but to anything human or animate, we used fMRI to measure the response of the FFA to six new stimulus categories. The strongest responses were to stimuli containing faces: human faces (2.0% signal increase from fixation baseline) and human heads (1.7%), with weaker but still strong responses to whole humans (1.5%) and animal heads (1.3%). Responses to whole animals (1.0%) and human bodies without heads (1.0%) were significantly stronger than responses to inanimate objects (0.7%), but responses to animal bodies without heads (0.8%) were not. These results demonstrate that the FFA is selective for faces, not for animals.

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