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Timothy Andrews, Michael Ewbank; fMR-adaptation reveals a view-invariant representation for familiar faces in the fusiform face area. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):2. doi: 10.1167/7.9.2.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Recognising complex objects, such as faces, is a simple and effortless process for most human observers. However, as we move about or as gaze or expression change, the size and shape of the face image on the retina also changes. To facilitate recognition, the visual system must take into account these sources of variation. The aim of this study was to explore whether face recognition is dependent on a viewpoint-dependent or viewpoint-invariant neural representation. Using the technique of fMR-adaptation, we measured the MR response to repeated images of the same face. We report that activity in the face-selective FFA was reduced following repeated presentations of the same face. This adaptation was similar for both familiar and unfamiliar faces. To establish if the neural representation of faces in the FFA was invariant to changes in viewpoint, we varied the viewing angle of the face between successive presentations. We found that adaptation to familiar faces was apparent across all changes in viewpoint. In contrast, we found signficant adaptation in the FFA to unfamiliar faces only occurred when the viewing angle between successive images was 2 degrees or less. Face-selective regions in the superior temporal lobe failed to adapt to repeated presentations of the same face. These results are consistent with cognitive models of face perception that predict a view-invariant neural representation underlies the recognition of familiar faces.
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