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Evidence for integrated visual face and body representations in the anterior temporal lobes

Harry, Bronson B., Umla-Runge, Katja ORCID:, Lawrence, Andrew D., Graham, Kim Samantha ORCID: and Downing, Paul E. 2016. Evidence for integrated visual face and body representations in the anterior temporal lobes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 28 (8) , pp. 1178-1193. 10.1162/jocn_a_00966

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Research on visual face perception has revealed a region in the ventral anterior temporal lobes, often referred to as the anterior temporal face patch (ATFP), which responds strongly to images of faces. To date, the selectivity of the ATFP has been examined by contrasting responses to faces against a small selection of categories. Here, we assess the selectivity of the ATFP in humans with a broad range of visual control stimuli to provide a stronger test of face selectivity in this region. In Experiment 1, participants viewed images from 20 stimulus categories in an event-related fMRI design. Faces evoked more activity than all other 19 categories in the left ATFP. In the right ATFP, equally strong responses were observed for both faces and headless bodies. To pursue this unexpected finding, in Experiment 2, we used multivoxel pattern analysis to examine whether the strong response to face and body stimuli reflects a common coding of both classes or instead overlapping but distinct representations. On a voxel-by-voxel basis, face and whole-body responses were significantly positively correlated in the right ATFP, but face and body-part responses were not. This finding suggests that there is shared neural coding of faces and whole bodies in the right ATFP that does not extend to individual body parts. In contrast, the same approach revealed distinct face and body representations in the right fusiform gyrus. These results are indicative of an increasing convergence of distinct sources of person-related perceptual information proceeding from the posterior to the anterior temporal cortex.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: PDF uploaded in accordance with publisher's polices at (accessed 22.4.16).
Publisher: MIT Press
ISSN: 0898-929X
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 14 March 2016
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 21:20

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