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Brain Res. 2012 May 3;1452:119-29. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2012.02.072. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Distinct human face representations in the perirhinal cortex and fusiform gyrus.

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Department of Psychiatry, Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.


Face representation, which is believed to be processed in the temporal visual pathway, has been extensively investigated in humans and monkeys through neuroimaging and electroneurophysiology. Lesion studies in monkeys indicate that simple facial features are processed in the caudal regions, and that the combined and integrated features of the face are stored in the perirhinal cortex (PRC). However, this hypothesis still lacks experimental evidence in normal human subjects; therefore, we conducted 2 functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments to investigate whether the function of the PRC differs from that of conventional face-related areas during face recognition tests. In experiment 1, normal subjects learned 6 facial identity-figure associations before scanning, and their brain activity was measured during recognition testing of correct and incorrect face-figure pairs in 3 different angles. The degree of activation in the PRC differed among the facial angles, and activation in response to frontal views was greater than that to other views. In experiment 2, where face angle, but not identity, was paired with an abstract figure, activation was significantly greater in response to the frontal view than that to other views. In contrast, the degree of activation in conventional face-related areas, i.e., the fusiform gyrus, did not differ among viewing angles in both experiments. The results indicate that the function of face representation in the PRC differs from that in the conventional face-related areas, and that a frontal view of the face plays a role in the activation of face representation stored in the PRC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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