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Cereb Cortex. 2017 Aug 1;27(8):4124-4138. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw224.

Spatial Mechanisms within the Dorsal Visual Pathway Contribute to the Configural Processing of Faces.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, NIMH/NIH, Bethesda, MD20892-1366, USA.

Abstract

Human face recognition is often attributed to configural processing; namely, processing the spatial relationships among the features of a face. If configural processing depends on fine-grained spatial information, do visuospatial mechanisms within the dorsal visual pathway contribute to this process? We explored this question in human adults using functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in a same-different face detection task. Within localized, spatial-processing regions of the posterior parietal cortex, configural face differences led to significantly stronger activation compared to featural face differences, and the magnitude of this activation correlated with behavioral performance. In addition, detection of configural relative to featural face differences led to significantly stronger functional connectivity between the right FFA and the spatial processing regions of the dorsal stream, whereas detection of featural relative to configural face differences led to stronger functional connectivity between the right FFA and left FFA. Critically, TMS centered on these parietal regions impaired performance on configural but not featural face difference detections. We conclude that spatial mechanisms within the dorsal visual pathway contribute to the configural processing of facial features and, more broadly, that the dorsal stream may contribute to the veridical perception of faces.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00001360.

KEYWORDS:

TMS; fMRI; face perception; spatial perception

PMID:
27522076
PMCID:
PMC6248673
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhw224
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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