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See detailHorizontal tuning for faces originates in high-level Fusiform Face Area.
Goffaux, Valerie; Duecker, Felix; Hausfeld, Lars et al

in Neuropsychologia (2015), 81

Recent work indicates that the specialization of face visual perception relies on the privileged processing of horizontal angles of facial information. This suggests that stimulus properties assumed to be ... [more ▼]

Recent work indicates that the specialization of face visual perception relies on the privileged processing of horizontal angles of facial information. This suggests that stimulus properties assumed to be fully resolved in primary visual cortex (V1; e.g., orientation) in fact determine human vision until high-level stages of processing. To address this hypothesis, the present fMRI study explored the orientation sensitivity of V1 and high-level face-specialized ventral regions such as the Occipital Face Area (OFA) and Fusiform Face Area (FFA) to different angles of face information. Participants viewed face images filtered to retain information at horizontal, vertical or oblique angles. Filtered images were viewed upright, inverted and (phase-)scrambled. FFA responded most strongly to the horizontal range of upright face information; its activation pattern reliably separated horizontal from oblique ranges, but only when faces were upright. Moreover, activation patterns induced in the right FFA and the OFA by upright and inverted faces could only be separated based on horizontal information. This indicates that the specialized processing of upright face information in the OFA and FFA essentially relies on the encoding of horizontal facial cues. This pattern was not passively inherited from V1, which was found to respond less strongly to horizontal than other orientations likely due to adaptive whitening. Moreover, we found that orientation decoding accuracy in V1 was impaired for stimuli containing no meaningful shape. By showing that primary coding in V1 is influenced by high-order stimulus structure and that high-level processing is tuned to selective ranges of primary information, the present work suggests that primary and high-level levels of the visual system interact in order to modulate the processing of certain ranges of primary information depending on their relevance with respect to the stimulus and task at hand. [less ▲]

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See detailLocal discriminability determines the strength of holistic processing for faces in the fusiform face area
Goffaux, Valerie; Schiltz, Christine UL; Mur, Marieke et al

in Frontiers in Psychology [=FPSYG] (2013), 3

Recent evidence suggests that the Fusiform Face Area (FFA) is not exclusively dedicated to the interactive processing of face features, but also contains neurons sensitive to local features.This suggests ... [more ▼]

Recent evidence suggests that the Fusiform Face Area (FFA) is not exclusively dedicated to the interactive processing of face features, but also contains neurons sensitive to local features.This suggests the existence of both interactive and local processing modes, consistent with recent behavioral findings that the strength of interactive feature processing (IFP) engages most strongly when similar features need to be disambiguated. Here we address whether the engagement of the FFA into interactive versus featural representational modes is governed by local feature discriminability.We scanned human participants while they matched target features within face pairs, independently of the context of distracter features. IFP was operationalized as the failure to match the target without being distracted by distracter features. Picture-plane inversion was used to disrupt IFP while preserving input properties.We found that FFA activationwas comparably strong, irrespective of whether similar target features were embedded in dissimilar contexts(i.e., inducing robust IFP) or dissimilar target featureswere embedded in the same context (i.e., engaging local processing). Second, inversion decreased FFA activation to faces most robustly when similar target features were embedded in dissimilar contexts, indicating that FFA engages into IFP mainly when features cannot be disambiguated at a local level.Third, by means of Spearman rank correlation tests, we show that the local processing of feature differences in the FFA is supported to a large extent by the Occipital Face Area, the Lateral Occipital Complex, and early visual cortex, suggesting that these regions encode the local aspects of face information. The present findings confirm the co-existence of holistic and featural representations in the FFA. Furthermore, they establish FFA as the main contributor to the featural/holistic representational mode switches determined by local discriminability. [less ▲]

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See detailAttentional shifts induced by uninformative number symbols modulate neural activity in human occipital cortex
Goffaux, Valerie; Martin, Romain UL; Dormal, Giulia et al

in Neuropsychologia (2012), 50

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to ... [more ▼]

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to different target locations according to the number magnitude, i.e., small/large numbers facilitate processing of left/right targets, respectively. The brain architecture dedicated to these attention shifts associated with numbers currently remains unknown. Evoked potential recordings indicate that both early and late stages are involved in this spatio-numerical interaction, but the neuro-functional anatomy needs to be specified. Here we use, for the first time, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate attentional orienting following uninformative Arabic digits. We show that BOLD response in occipital visual regions was modulated by the congruency between digit magnitude (small/large) and target side (left/right). Additionally, we report higher BOLD responses following large (8, 9) compared to small (1, 2) digits in two bilateral parietal regions, yielding a significant effect of digit magnitude. We propose and discuss the view that encoding of semantic representations related to number symbols in parietal cortex led to shifts in visuo-spatial attention and enhanced visual processing in the occipital cortex according to number-space congruency rules. [less ▲]

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See detailAttentional shifts induced by uninformative number symbols modulate neural activity in human occipital cortex
Goffaux, Valérie; Martin, Romain UL; Dormal, Giulia et al

in Neuropsychologia (2012), 50

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to ... [more ▼]

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to different target locations according to the number magnitude, i.e., small/large numbers facilitate processing of left/right targets, respectively. The brain architecture dedicated to these attention shifts associated with numbers remains unknown. Evoked potential recordings indicate that both early and late stages are involved in this spatio-numerical interaction, but the neuro-functional anatomy needs to be specified. Here we use, for the first time, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate attentional orienting following uninformative Arabic digits. We show that BOLD response in occipital visual regions is modulated by the congruency between digit magnitude (small/large) and target side (left/right). Additionally, we report higher BOLD responses following large (8, 9) compared to small (1, 2) digits in two bilateral parietal regions, yielding a significant effect of digit magnitude. We propose and discuss the view that encoding of semantic representations related to number symbols in parietal cortex leads to shifts in visuo-spatial attention and enhances visual processing in the occipital cortex according to number-space congruency rules. [less ▲]

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See detailOrientation tuning for faces in the Fusiform Face Area and Primary Visual Cortex
Goffaux, Valerie; Duecker, Felix; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

Scientific Conference (2012, September)

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See detailAttentional shifts induced by uninformative number symbols modulate neural activity in human occipital cortex
Schiltz, Christine UL; Goffaux, Valérie; Martin, Romain UL et al

Presentation (2012, July 17)

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to ... [more ▼]

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to different target locations according to the number magnitude, i.e. small/large numbers facilitate processing of left/right targets, respectively. The brain architecture dedicated to these attention shifts associated with numbers currently remains unknown. Evoked potential recordings indicate that both early and late stages are involved in this spatio-numerical interaction, but the neuro-functional anatomy needs to be specified. Here we use, for the first time, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate attentional orienting following uninformative Arabic digits. We show that BOLD response in occipital visual regions was modulated by the congruency between digit magnitude (small/large) and target side (left/right). Additionally, we report higher BOLD responses following large (8, 9) compared to small (1, 2) digits in two bilateral parietal regions, yielding a significant effect of digit magnitude. We propose and discuss the view that automatic encoding of semantic representations related to number symbols in parietal cortex lead to shifts in visuo-spatial attention and enhanced visual processing in the occipital cortex according to number-space congruency rules. [less ▲]

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See detailLocal discriminability determines the strength of holistic processing for faces in the fusiform face area.
Goffaux, Valerie; Schiltz, Christine UL; Mur, Marieke et al

in Frontiers in psychology (2012), 3

Recent evidence suggests that the Fusiform Face Area (FFA) is not exclusively dedicated to the interactive processing of face features, but also contains neurons sensitive to local features. This suggests ... [more ▼]

Recent evidence suggests that the Fusiform Face Area (FFA) is not exclusively dedicated to the interactive processing of face features, but also contains neurons sensitive to local features. This suggests the existence of both interactive and local processing modes, consistent with recent behavioral findings that the strength of interactive feature processing (IFP) engages most strongly when similar features need to be disambiguated. Here we address whether the engagement of the FFA into interactive versus featural representational modes is governed by local feature discriminability. We scanned human participants while they matched target features within face pairs, independently of the context of distracter features. IFP was operationalized as the failure to match the target without being distracted by distracter features. Picture-plane inversion was used to disrupt IFP while preserving input properties. We found that FFA activation was comparably strong, irrespective of whether similar target features were embedded in dissimilar contexts(i.e., inducing robust IFP) or dissimilar target features were embedded in the same context (i.e., engaging local processing). Second, inversion decreased FFA activation to faces most robustly when similar target features were embedded in dissimilar contexts, indicating that FFA engages into IFP mainly when features cannot be disambiguated at a local level. Third, by means of Spearman rank correlation tests, we show that the local processing of feature differences in the FFA is supported to a large extent by the Occipital Face Area, the Lateral Occipital Complex, and early visual cortex, suggesting that these regions encode the local aspects of face information. The present findings confirm the co-existence of holistic and featural representations in the FFA. Furthermore, they establish FFA as the main contributor to the featural/holistic representational mode switches determined by local discriminability. [less ▲]

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See detailFrom coarse to fine? Spatial and temporal dynamics of cortical face processing
Goffaux, Valerie; Peters, Judith; Haubrechts, Julie et al

in Cerebral Cortex (2011), 21(2), 467-476

Primary vision segregates information along 2 main dimensions: orientation and spatial frequency (SF). An important question is how this primary visual information is integrated to support high level ... [more ▼]

Primary vision segregates information along 2 main dimensions: orientation and spatial frequency (SF). An important question is how this primary visual information is integrated to support high level representations. It is generally assumed that the information carried by different SF is combined following a coarse-to-fine sequence. We directly addressed this assumption by investigating how the network of face-preferring cortical regions processes distinct SF over time. Face stimuli were flashed during 75, 150, or 300 ms and masked. They were filtered to preserve low SF (LSF), middle SF (MSF), or high SF (HSF). Most face-preferring regions robustly responded to coarse LSF, face information in early stages of visual processing (i.e., until 75 ms of exposure duration). LSF processing decayed as a function of exposure duration (mostly until 150 ms). In contrast, the processing of fine HSF, face information became more robust over time in the bilateral fusiform face regions and in the right occipital face area. The present evidence suggests the coarse-to-fine strategy as a plausible modus operandi in high level visual cortex. [less ▲]

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See detailHolistic perception of individual faces in the right middle fusiform gyrus as evidenced by the composite face illusion
Schiltz, Christine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Goebel, Rainer et al

in Journal of Vision (2010), 10(2), 1-16

The perception of a facial feature (e.g., the eyes) is influenced by the position and identity of other features (e.g., the mouth) supporting an integrated, or holistic, representation of individual faces ... [more ▼]

The perception of a facial feature (e.g., the eyes) is influenced by the position and identity of other features (e.g., the mouth) supporting an integrated, or holistic, representation of individual faces in the human brain. Here we used an event-related adaptation paradigm in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to clarify the regions representing faces holistically across the whole brain. In each trial, observers performed the same/different task on top halves (aligned or misaligned) of two faces presented sequentially. For each face pair, the identity of top and bottom parts could be both identical, both different, or different only for the bottom half. The latter manipulation resulted in a composite face illusion, i.e., the erroneous perception of identical top parts as being different, only for aligned faces. Release from adaptation in this condition was found in two sub-areas of the right middle fusiform gyrus responding preferentially to faces, including the “fusiform face area” (“FFA”). There were no significant effects in homologous regions of the left hemisphere or in the inferior occipital cortex. Altogether, these observations indicate that face-sensitive populations of neurons in the right middle fusiform gyrus are optimally tuned to represent individual exemplars of faces holistically. [less ▲]

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See detailTemporal dynamics of face spatial frequency processing: An fmri masking experiment
Goffaux, Valerie; Peters, Judith; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

Poster (2009, May)

When processing a face stimulus, the human visual system tends to strongly integrate its constituent features (eyes, nose, mouth, etc) in a so-called holistic representation. Such feature integration ... [more ▼]

When processing a face stimulus, the human visual system tends to strongly integrate its constituent features (eyes, nose, mouth, etc) in a so-called holistic representation. Such feature integration mainly occurs in face-sensitive regions located in bilateral fusiform gyrii. Behavioural studies showed that feature integration relies on the extraction of low spatial frequencies (LSF) while high SF (HSF) underlie more local aspects of feature analysis. Following coarse-to-fine models of vision, we propose that the LSF-driven feature integration is an early and fast stage of face perception, in contrast to the longer-lasting extraction of detailed feature cues in HSF. By means of an event-related fMRI design, the present study investigated the temporal dynamics of face LSF and HSF processing in the network of face-sensitive cortical regions. Faces were flashed at 75, 150, or 300 msec, followed by a Gaussian mask. They were band-pass filtered to preserve low or high SF. At short stimulus durations, face-sensitive regions located in bilateral fusiform gyrii and superior temporal sulci responded more strongly to LSF than HSF faces. At longer durations, the same regions were more active for HSF than LSF faces. This pattern did not replicate for phase-scrambled versions of the stimuli. Taken together our findings suggest that face perception proceeds following a coarse-to-fine scenario, with an early and fast LSF-driven feature integration being relayed by the slower accumulation of HSF local information. [less ▲]

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See detailFace inversion disrupts the perception of vertical relations between features in the right human occipito-temporal cortex
Goffaux, Valerie; Rossion, Bruno; Sorger, Bettina et al

in Journal of Neuropsychology (2009), 3

The impact of inversion on the extraction of relational and featural face information was investigated in two fMRI experiments. Unlike previous studies, the contribution of horizontal and vertical spatial ... [more ▼]

The impact of inversion on the extraction of relational and featural face information was investigated in two fMRI experiments. Unlike previous studies, the contribution of horizontal and vertical spatial relations were considered separately since they have been shown to be differentially vulnerable to face inversion (Goffaux & Rossion, 2007). Hence, inversion largely affects the perception of vertical relations (e.g. eye or mouth height) while the processing of features (e.g. eye shape and surface) and of horizontal relations (e.g. inter-ocular distance) is affected to a far lesser extent. Participants viewed pairs of faces that differed either at the level of one local feature (i.e. the eyes) or of the spatial relations of this feature with adjacent features. Changes of spatial relations were divided into two conditions, depending on the vertical or horizontal axis of the modifications. These stimulus conditions were presented in separate blocks in the first (block) experiment while they were presented in a random order in the second event-related (ER) experiment. Face-preferring voxels located in the right-lateralized middle fusiform gyrus (rMFG) largely decreased their activity with inversion. Inversion-related decreases were more moderate in left-lateralized middle fusiform gyrus (lMFG). ER experiment revealed that inversion affected rMFG and lMFG activity in distinct stimulus conditions. Whereas inversion affected lMFG processing only in featural condition, inversion selectively affected the processing of vertical relations in rMFG. Correlation analyses further indicated that the inversion effect (IE) observed in rMFG and right inferior occipital gyrus (rIOG) reliably predicted the large behavioural IE observed for the processing of vertical relations. In contrast, lMFG IE correlated with the weak behavioural IE observed for the processing of horizontal relations. Our findings suggest that face configuration is mostly encoded in rMFG, whereas more local aspects of face information, such as features and horizontal spatial relations drive lMFG processing. These findings corroborate the view that the vulnerability of face perception to inversion stems mainly from the disrupted processing of vertical face relations in the right-lateralized network of face-preferring regions (rMFG, rIOG). [less ▲]

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See detailThe roles of "face" and "non-face" areas during individual face perception: Evidence by fmri adaptation in a brain-damaged prosopagnosic patient
Dricot, Laurence; Sorger, Bettina; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in NeuroImage (2008), 40(1), 318-332

Two regions in the human occipito-temporal cortex respond preferentially to faces: 'the fusiform face area' ('FFA') and the 'occipital face area' ('OFA'). Whether these areas have a dominant or exclusive ... [more ▼]

Two regions in the human occipito-temporal cortex respond preferentially to faces: 'the fusiform face area' ('FFA') and the 'occipital face area' ('OFA'). Whether these areas have a dominant or exclusive role in face perception, or if sub-maximal responses in other visual areas such as the lateral occipital complex (LOC) are also involved, is currently debated. To shed light on this issue, we tested normal participants and PS, a well-known brain-damaged patient presenting a face-selective perception deficit (prosopagnosia) [Rossion, B., Caldara, R., Seghier, M., Schuller, A. M., Lazeyras, F., Mayer, E. (2003). A network of occipito-temporal face-sensitive areas besides the right middle fusiform gyrus is necessary for normal face processing. Brain 126 2381-2395.], with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Of particular interest, the right hemisphere lesion of the patient PS encompasses the 'OFA' but preserves the 'FFA' and LOC [Sorger, B., Goebel, R., Schiltz, C., Rossion, B. (2007). Understanding the functional neuroanatomy of acquired prosopagnosia. NeuroImage 35, 836-852.]. Using fMRI-adaptation, we found a dissociation between the coding of individual exemplars in the structurally intact 'FFA', which was impaired for faces but preserved for objects in the patient PS's brain. Most importantly, a larger response to different faces than repeated faces was found in the ventral part of the LOC both for normals and the patient, next to the right hemisphere lesion. Thus, following prosopagnosia, areas that do not respond preferentially to faces such as the ventral part of the LOC (vLOC) may still be recruited for compensatory or residual individual face perception. Overall, these observations indicate that several high-level visual areas in the human brain contribute to individual face perception. However, a subset of these areas in the right hemisphere, those responding preferentially to faces ('FFA' and 'OFA'), appear to be critical for this function. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence for individual face discrimination in non-face selective areas of the visual cortex in acquired prosopagnosia
Dricot, Laurence; Sorger, Bettina; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Behavioral Neurology (2008), 19(1-2), 75-79

Two areas in the human occipito-temporal cortex respond preferentially to faces: 'the fusiform face area' ('FFA') and the 'occipital face area' ('OFA'). However, it is unclear whether these areas have an ... [more ▼]

Two areas in the human occipito-temporal cortex respond preferentially to faces: 'the fusiform face area' ('FFA') and the 'occipital face area' ('OFA'). However, it is unclear whether these areas have an exclusive role in processing faces, or if sub-maximal responses in other visual areas such as the lateral occipital complex (LOC) are also involved. To clarify this issue, we tested a brain-damaged patient (PS) presenting a face-selective impairment with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The right hemisphere lesion of the prosopagnosic patient encompasses the 'OFA' but preserves the 'FFA' and LOC. Using fMRI-adaptation, we found a larger response to different faces than repeated faces in the ventral part of the LOC both for normals and the patient, next to her right hemisphere lesion. This observation indicates that following prosopagnosia, areas that do not respond preferentially to faces such as the ventral part of the LOC (vLOC) may still be recruited to subtend residual perception of individual faces. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigation of featural versus configural processing of faces in the middle fusiform gyrus
Goffaux, Valerie; Sorger, Bettina; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

Poster (2007, May)

Inverting a face affects the processing of the vertical relations between features (e.g. eye height) more than the processing of horizontal relations (e.g. interocular distance) and of local features (e.g ... [more ▼]

Inverting a face affects the processing of the vertical relations between features (e.g. eye height) more than the processing of horizontal relations (e.g. interocular distance) and of local features (e.g. eye shape and surface). Inversion also decreases hemodynamic responses (HR) in face-sensitive regions in the middle fusiform gyrus (MFG), presumably because it reduces face distinctiveness and leads to larger adaptation. Here we tested the hypothesis that inversion affects the perception of vertical metric distances between features in the MFG. In the present fMRI study, twelve subjects were presented with short blocks of upright and inverted pairs composed either of identical faces (‘same’ condition), or of faces that differed at the level of ‘vertical’ relations, ‘horizontal’ relations, the shape of all inner feature (‘different’), or the shape of one single ‘feature’. In rMFG, smaller HR were observed for ‘same’ as compared to ‘different’ condition when faces were presented upright; due to HR adaptation. ‘Vertical’, ‘horizontal’ and ‘featural’ conditions led to HR close to ‘same’ condition. Inversion decreased HR in all conditions except the ‘same’ condition, thus replicating previous findings. The largest inversion-related decrements measured in rMFG were observed for vertical relations. In the left MFG, all conditions led to larger HR than the ‘same’ condition at upright. Inversion decreased HR in vertical and horizontal conditions only. These results suggest different roles of the MFG across hemispheres. rMFG may code ecological face differences, since release from adaptation was only observed for completely different faces in this region. Moreover, rMFG may be sensitive to face configuration as suggested by the generalised inversion-related HR decrease. In contrast, lMFG may code any kind of physical difference between faces irrespective of orientation, except for relational differences. [less ▲]

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See detailFmri evidence for multiple face processing pathways in the human brain
Dricot, Laurence; Schiltz, Christine UL; Sorger, Bettina et al

Poster (2007, May)

Two regions in the occipito-temporal cortex respond more strongly to faces than to objects and are thought to be important for face perception: ‘the fusiform face area’ (‘FFA’) and the ‘occipital face ... [more ▼]

Two regions in the occipito-temporal cortex respond more strongly to faces than to objects and are thought to be important for face perception: ‘the fusiform face area’ (‘FFA’) and the ‘occipital face area’ (‘OFA’). Whether these areas responding preferentially to faces play a dominant or exclusive role in face processing or if sub-maximal responses in other areas of the ventral stream such as the lateral occipital complex (LOC) are also involved is currently debated. To clarify this issue, we tested a brain-damaged patient presenting a face-selective deficit, prosopagnosia, with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Using fMRI-adaptation, we found a dissociation between the coding of identity in the structurally intact ‘FFA’, which was impaired for faces but preserved for objects. This observation complements recent fMRI findings that the ‘FFA’ reflects averaging of heterogeneous highly selective neural populations for faces and objects, by showing here that the responses of these populations can be functionally independent. Most importantly, a larger response to different faces than repeated faces was found in the ventral part of the LOC both for normals and the patient, next to the right hemisphere lesion. Following prosopagnosia, areas that do not respond preferentially to faces such as the ventral part of the LOC (vLOC) may still be recruited to subtend residual individual face discrimination. Overall, these observations indicate that faces are processed through a network of visual areas in the human brain, with a subset of these areas responding preferentially to faces being critical for efficient face recognition. [less ▲]

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See detailUnderstanding the functional neuroanatomy of acquired prosopagnosia
Sorger, Bettina; Goebel, Rainer; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in NeuroImage (2007), 35(2), 836-852

One of the most remarkable disorders following brain damage is prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces. While a number of cases of prosopagnosia have been described at the behavioral level, the ... [more ▼]

One of the most remarkable disorders following brain damage is prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces. While a number of cases of prosopagnosia have been described at the behavioral level, the functional neuroanatomy of this face recognition impairment, and thus the brain regions critically involved in normal face recognition, has never been specified in great detail. Here, we used anatomical and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to present the detailed functional neuroanatomy of a single case of acquired prosopagnosia (PS; Rossion, B., Caldara, R., Seghier, M., Schuller, A.-M., Lazeyras, F., Mayer, E., 2003a. A network of occipito-temporal face-sensitive areas besides the right middle fusiform gyrus is necessary for normal face processing. Brain 126, 2381-95; Rossion, B., Joyce, C.A., Cottrell, G.W., Tarr, M.J., 2003b. Early lateralization and orientation tuning for face, word, and object processing in the visual cortex. Neuroimage 20, 1609-24) with normal object recognition. First, we clarify the exact anatomical location and extent of PS' lesions in relation to (a) retinotopic cortex, (b) face-preferring regions, and (c) other classical visual regions. PS' main lesion - most likely causing her prosopagnosia - is localized in the posterior part of the right ventral occipitotemporal cortex. This lesion causes a left superior paracentral scotoma, as frequently observed in cases of prosopagnosia. While the borders of the early visual areas in the left hemisphere could be delineated well, the extensive posterior right-sided lesion hampered a full specification of the cortical representation of the left visual field. Using multiple scanning runs, face-preferring activation was detected within the right middle fusiform gyrus (MFG) in the so-called 'fusiform face area' ('FFA'), but also in the left inferior occipital gyrus (left 'OFA'), and in the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS). The dorsal part of the lateral occipital complex (LOC) and the human middle temporal cortex (hMT+/V5) were localized bilaterally. The color-preferring region V4/V8 was localized only in the left hemisphere. In the right hemisphere, the posterior lesion spared the ventral part of LOC, a region that may be critical for the preserved object recognition abilities of the patient, and the restriction of her deficit to the category of faces. The presumptive functions of both structurally damaged and preserved regions are discussed and new hypotheses regarding the impaired and preserved abilities of the patient during face and non-face object processing are derived. Fine-grained neurofunctional analyses of brain-damaged single cases with isolated recognition deficits may considerably improve our knowledge of the brain regions critically involved in specific visual functions, such as face recognition. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired face discrimination in acquired prosopagnosia is associated with abnormal response to individual faces in the right middle fusiform gyrus
Schiltz, Christine UL; Sorger, Bettina; Caldara, Roberto et al

in Cerebral Cortex (2006), 16(4), 574-586

The middle fusiform gyrus (MFG) and the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG) are activated by both detection and identification of faces. Paradoxically, patients with acquired prosopagnosia following lesions to ... [more ▼]

The middle fusiform gyrus (MFG) and the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG) are activated by both detection and identification of faces. Paradoxically, patients with acquired prosopagnosia following lesions to either of these regions in the right hemisphere cannot identify faces, but can still detect faces. Here we acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data during face processing in a patient presenting a specific deficit in individual face recognition, following lesions encompassing the right IOG. Using an adaptation paradigm we show that the fMRI signal in the rMFG of the patient, while being larger in response to faces as compared to objects, does not differ between conditions presenting identical and distinct faces, in contrast to the larger response to distinct faces observed in controls. These results suggest that individual discrimination of faces critically depends on the integrity of both the rMFG and the rIOG, which may interact through re-entrant cortical connections in the normal brain. [less ▲]

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See detailFace-sensitive responses in the occipital inferior cortex of normal humans through feedback inputs from the fusiform gyrus? Evidence from neuroimaging studies of brain-damaged prosopagnosic patient
Rossion, Bruno; Sorger, Bettina; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

Poster (2004, August 13)

In humans, neuroimaging studies have identified two major visual extrastriate areas presenting face-sensitive responses: in the inferior occipital cortex (‘occipital face area’, OFA), and the middle ... [more ▼]

In humans, neuroimaging studies have identified two major visual extrastriate areas presenting face-sensitive responses: in the inferior occipital cortex (‘occipital face area’, OFA), and the middle fusiform gyrus (the ‘fusiform face area’, FFA), with a right hemispheric dominance. It has been proposed that the OFA, located anteriorly to foveal V4v (Halgren et al., 1999), has a critical role in the early perception of facial features and provides the feedforward outputs to later stages of face processing in both the FFA and the STS (Haxby et al., 2000). However, we have recently reported a normal activation of the right FFA despite a lesion encompassing the region of the right OFA in a brain-damaged prosopagnosic patient, PS (Rossion et al., 2003), suggesting that the face-sensitive responses observed at the level of the OFA in normals may rather arise from feedback connections from the FFA. Here we provide complementary fMRI evidence supporting this view. First, the normal differential activation for faces and objects in the right FFA of PS was observed only for left visual field presentations and is thus unlikely to originate from contralateral intact regions of the occipital cortex (e.g. left OFA). Second, the time-course in the right FFA and left OFA of PS for centrally presented items suggests an earlier differential activity between faces and objects in the most anterior region, the FFA. Finally, we imaged another (prosop)agnosic patient (NS, Delvenne et al., 2004) with a lesion encompassing the right FFA but sparing all posterior visual areas, and failed to disclose any face-sensitive response in his nonetheless structurally and functionnally intact occipital cortex. Together, these findings illustrate the necessary role of both the right FFA and OFA for accurate face perception, and reinforce the hypothesis that a dominant (feedback) connection from the FFA to the OFA subtends face-sensitive responses observed in the latter area when processing faces. [less ▲]

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See detailFace-sensitive responses in the occipital inferior cortex of normal humans through feedback inputs from the fusiform gyrus ?: Evidence from neuroimaging studies of brain-damaged prosopagnosic patients
Schiltz, Christine UL; Caldara, Roberto; Sorger, Bettina et al

Poster (2004, June)

In humans, neuroimaging studies have identified two major visual extrastriate areas presenting face-sensitive responses: in the inferior occipital cortex (‘occipital face area’, OFA), and the middle ... [more ▼]

In humans, neuroimaging studies have identified two major visual extrastriate areas presenting face-sensitive responses: in the inferior occipital cortex (‘occipital face area’, OFA), and the middle fusiform gyrus (the ‘fusiform face area’, FFA), with a right hemispheric dominance. It has been proposed that the OFA, located anteriorly to foveal V4v (Halgren et al., 1999), has a critical role in the early perception of facial features and provides the feedforward outputs to later stages of face processing in both the FFA and the STS (Haxby et al., 2000). However, we have recently reported a normal activation of the right FFA despite a lesion encompassing the region of the right OFA in a brain-damaged prosopagnosic patient, PS (Rossion et al., 2003), suggesting that the face-sensitive responses observed at the level of the OFA in normals may rather arise from feedback connections from the FFA. Here we provide complementary fMRI evidence supporting this view. First, the normal differential activation for faces and objects in the right FFA of PS was observed only for left visual field presentations and is thus unlikely to originate from contralateral intact regions of the occipital cortex (e.g. left OFA). Second, the time-course in the right FFA and left OFA of PS for centrally presented items suggests an earlier differential activity between faces and objects in the most anterior region, the FFA. Finally, we imaged another (prosop)agnosic patient (NS, Delvenne et al., 2004) with a lesion encompassing the right FFA but sparing all posterior visual areas, and failed to disclose any face-sensitive response in his nonetheless structurally and functionnally intact occipital cortex. Together, these findings illustrate the necessary role of both the right FFA and OFA for accurate face perception, and reinforce the hypothesis that a dominant (feedback) connection from the FFA to the OFA subtends face-sensitive responses observed in the latter area when processing faces. [less ▲]

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