June 2006
Volume 6, Issue 6
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Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2006
A whole-to-part advantage for processing faces in the occipito-temporal cortex
Author Affiliations
  • Bruno Rossion
    Department of Cognitive Development and Laboratory of Neurophysiology, University of Louvain, Belgium
  • Christian Namèche
    Department of Cognitive Development and Laboratory of Neurophysiology, University of Louvain, Belgium
  • Bettina Sorger
    Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
  • Rainer Goebel
    Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Journal of Vision June 2006, Vol.6, 429. doi:10.1167/6.6.429
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      Bruno Rossion, Christian Namèche, Bettina Sorger, Rainer Goebel; A whole-to-part advantage for processing faces in the occipito-temporal cortex. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):429. doi: 10.1167/6.6.429.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Numerous experiments have shown that the recognition of a facial feature is dependent on the other features of the face stimulus, a phenomenon taken as evidence that faces are represented holistically (e.g. Tanaka & Farah, 1993). Even though this effect has been found in matching tasks with unfamiliar stimuli (e.g. Pellicano & Rhodes, 2003), supporting the view that it occurs at a perceptual stage, this remains controversial (Wenger & Ingvalson, 2002). Here, we used fast event-related fMRI-adaptation to test whether the regions responding preferentially to faces in the human visual cortex represent facial features independently or not. On each trial, subjects (N=8) were shown a whole face stimulus followed either by a whole face or a single feature (the eyes). The eyes feature in the second stimulus could either be identical to the first stimulus, or different, leading to 4 conditions. Subjects were better at matching or discriminating the eyes when two whole faces were presented, replicating behavioral observations. In face-sensitive areas of the inferior occipital cortex, there was an adaptation when the same feature was presented in the two stimuli of a pair, whether the feature was presented in the same format (whole-to-whole) or not (whole-to-isolated). In contrast, and as predicted, there was a much larger adaptation in the whole-to-whole than in the whole-to-part condition in the middle fusiform gyrus (MFG). These results supports the view that facial features are not represented independently but rather integrated into a global representation in the middle fusiform gyrus.

Rossion, B. Namèche, C. Sorger, B. Goebel, R. (2006). A whole-to-part advantage for processing faces in the occipito-temporal cortex [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 6(6):429, 429a, http://journalofvision.org/6/6/429/, doi:10.1167/6.6.429. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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