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Ed O'Neil, Stefan Köhler; Functional role and connectivity of perirhinal cortex in face processing. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1454. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1454.
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The prevailing view of medial temporal lobe (MTL) functioning holds that its structures are dedicated to declarative long-term memory. Recent evidence challenges this view, suggesting that perirhinal cortex (PrC), which interfaces the MTL with the ventral visual pathway, supports highly integrated object representations that are critical for perceptual as well as for memory-based discriminations. Here, we review research conducted with fMRI in healthy individuals that addresses the role of PrC, and its functional connectivity, in the context of face processing. Our research shows that (i) PrC exhibits a performance-related involvement in recognition-memory as well as in perceptual oddball judgments for faces; (ii) PrC involvement in perceptual tasks is related to demands for face individuation; (ii) PrC exhibits resting-state connectivity with the FFA and the amygdala that has behavioural relevance for the face-inversion effect; (iii) task demands that distinguish recognition-memory from perceptual-discrimination tasks are reflected in distinct patterns of functional connectivity between PrC and other cortical regions, rather than in differential PrC activity. Together, our findings challenge the view that mnemonic demands are the sole determinant of PrC involvement in face processing, and that its response to such demands uniquely distinguishes its role from that of more posterior ventral visual pathway regions. Instead, our findings point to the importance of considering the nature of representations and functional connectivity in efforts to elucidate the contributions of PrC and other cortical structures to face processing.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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