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Jessica Collins, Ingrid Olson; The role of the human vATL face patches in familiar face processing. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1452. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1452.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Studies of nonhuman primates have reported the existence of face sensitive patches in the ventral anterior temporal lobes. Using optimized imaging parameters recent fMRI studies have identified a functionally homologous brain region in the ventral anterior temporal lobes (vATLs) of humans. The human vATL shows sensitivity to both perceptual and conceptual features of faces, suggesting that it is involved in some aspects of both face perception and face memory. Supporting a role of the vATLs in face perception, activity patterns in the human vATL face patches discriminate between unfamiliar facial identities, and unilateral damage to the vATLs impairs the ability to make fine-grained discriminations between simultaneously displayed faces when morphed stimuli are used. Supporting a role of the vATLs in face memory, activity in the vATLs is up-regulated for famous faces and for novel faces paired with semantic content. The left ATL appears to be relatively more sensitive to the verbal or semantic aspects of faces, while the right ATL appears to be relatively more sensitive to visual aspects of face, consistent with lateralized processing of language. We will discuss the implications of these findings and propose a revised model of face processing in which the vATLs serve a centralized role in linking face identity to face memory as part of the core visual face-processing network.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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