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Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2004 Aug;20(3):384-94.

Regional brain response to faces of humans and dogs.

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Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.


The extent to which the brain regions associated with face processing are selective for that specific function remains controversial. In addition, little is known regarding the extent to which face-responsive brain regions are selective for human faces. To study regional selectivity of face processing, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine whole brain activation in response to human faces, dog faces, and houses. Fourteen healthy right-handed volunteers participated in a passive viewing, blocked experiment. Results indicate that the lateral fusiform gyrus (Brodmann's area 37) responds maximally to both dog and human faces when compared with other sites, followed by the middle/inferior occipital gyrus (BA 18/19). Sites that were activated by houses versus dog and human faces included the medial fusiform gyrus (BA 19/37), the posterior cingulate (BA 30), and the superior occipital gyrus (BA 19). The only site that displayed significant differences in activation between dog and human faces was the lingual/medial fusiform gyrus. In this site, houses elicited the strongest activation, followed by dog faces, while the response to human faces was negligible and did not differ from fixation. The parahippocampal gyrus/amygdala was the sole site that displayed significant activation to human faces, but not to dog faces or houses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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