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Brain Res. 2008 Sep 16;1230:192-201. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

MEG correlates of bimodal encoding of faces and persons' names.

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Department of Pediatrics University of Texas, Center for Clinical Neuroscience, Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Learning associations between people's faces and names is a universal cognitive function with important social implications. The goal of the present study was to examine brain activity patterns associated with cross-modal encoding of names and faces. Learning face-name pairs was compared to unimodal learning tasks using the same visual and auditory stimuli. Spatiotemporal brain activation profiles were obtained with magnetoencephalography using an automated source estimation method. Results showed activation foci in left (for names) and right (for faces) temporal lobe perisylvian cortices, predominantly right-hemisphere occipital and occipitotemporal regions (for faces), and right hemisphere dorsolateral prefrontal regions during the encoding phase for both types of stimuli presented in isolation. Paired (face-name) stimulus presentation elicited bilateral prefrontal and temporal lobe perisylvian activity for faces and enhanced visual cortex activation in response to names (compared to names in the unpaired condition). These findings indicate distinct patterns of brain activation during the formation of associations between meaningful visual and auditory stimuli.

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