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Galit Yovel, Inbal Bartal; View-invariant representation of unfamiliar faces in the fusiform face area. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):1. doi: 10.1167/7.9.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The role of the FFA in the processing of face identity has been convincingly demonstrated in several studies. However, it is still unclear whether face identity information is represented in a view-invariant or view-specific manner. Specifically for unfamiliar faces, most studies that examined this question concluded that the FFA representation is view-specific. In the current study we used an event-related fMR-adaptation paradigm with a very short delay (ISI=150 ms) between the first and second face. Subjects viewed sequential presentation of pairs of same-view unfamiliar faces that were of the same-identity or different-identity, as well as pairs of same-identity/different-view faces that differed in 30, 60 or 90 degrees. Behavioral data we collected in a sequential face matching task show that subjects discrimiated pairs of faces that differed in 30 and 60 degrees as well as two same-view faces, but performance deteriorated for faces that differed in 90 degrees. Functional MRI findings showed higher response to different-identity/same-view than same-identity/same-view pairs of faces (fMR-adaptation effect), which replicates pervious reports. Importantly, consistent with our behavioral findings, we found an fMR-adaptation effect for same-identity/different-view pairs of faces that differed in 30 or 60 degrees, but not for same-identity/different-view faces that differed in 90 degrees. Our results suggest that the representation of the identity of unfamiliar faces in the FFA is view-invariant, at least for angular differences of 30 and 60 degrees. We hypothesize that the FFA maintains such a general identity representation for a very short period of time and therefore it has not been revealed in fMRI repetition studies that have employed longer repetition delays.
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