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See detailA robust index of lexical representation in the left occipito-temporal cortex as evidenced by EEG responses to fast periodic visual stimulation.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Van Belle, Goedele; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2015), 66

Despite decades of research on reading, including the relatively recent contributions of neuroimaging and electrophysiology, identifying selective representations of whole visual words (in contrast to ... [more ▼]

Despite decades of research on reading, including the relatively recent contributions of neuroimaging and electrophysiology, identifying selective representations of whole visual words (in contrast to pseudowords) in the human brain remains challenging, in particular without an explicit linguistic task. Here we measured discrimination responses to written words by means of electroencephalography (EEG) during fast periodic visual stimulation. Sequences of pseudofonts, nonwords, or pseudowords were presented through sinusoidal contrast modulation at a periodic 10 Hz frequency rate (F), in which words were interspersed at regular intervals of every fifth item (i.e., F/5, 2 Hz). Participants monitored a central cross color change and had no linguistic task to perform. Within only 3 min of stimulation, a robust discrimination response for words at 2 Hz (and its harmonics, i.e., 4 and 6 Hz) was observed in all conditions, located predominantly over the left occipito-temporal cortex. The magnitude of the response was largest for words embedded in pseudofonts, and larger in nonwords than in pseudowords, showing that list context effects classically reported in behavioral lexical decision tasks are due to visual discrimination rather than decisional processes. Remarkably, the oddball response was significant even for the critical words/pseudowords discrimination condition in every individual participant. A second experiment replicated this words/pseudowords discrimination, and showed that this effect is not accounted for by a higher bigram frequency of words than pseudowords. Without any explicit task, our results highlight the potential of an EEG fast periodic visual stimulation approach for understanding the representation of written language. Its development in the scientific community might be valuable to rapidly and objectively measure sensitivity to word processing in different human populations, including neuropsychological patients with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. [less ▲]

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See detailArithmetic in the Bilingual Brain: an fMRI study
Van Rinsveld, Amandine UL; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

Scientific Conference (2014, May)

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in their different languages? We investigated this question with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) by exploring the neural substrates of arithmetic ... [more ▼]

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in their different languages? We investigated this question with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) by exploring the neural substrates of arithmetic processing in bilinguals in comparison to monolinguals. Bilingual participants were highly proficient both in German and French as they attended primary school in German and secondary school and higher education in French. This bilingual combination is particularly interesting because the order of two-digit number words is inversed in these languages: decade-unit in French but unit-decade in German. 21 German-French bilinguals and 12 French-speaking monolinguals were scanned while performing different types of arithmetic problems: additions of different complexity levels (from simple to complex additions) and multiplication facts. We presented different types of operations in order to disentangle arithmetic computation from pure memory retrieval that occurs in very simple additions or multiplications. Arithmetic problems were presented via headsets in a verification paradigm and bilinguals performed the tasks in both languages. Results showed that all arithmetic tasks elicited a broad fronto-parietal network in both groups and for both of bilinguals’ language sessions. However, we observed that complex additions involved more left frontal activity (i.e. inferior frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus) in bilinguals than in monolinguals. It is important to notice that these frontal activation differences occurred both for the arithmetic acquisition language (i.e. German) and the second language (i.e. French). These BOLD differences between bilingual and monolingual participants were observed despite the fact that both groups solved the arithmetic problems with equivalent accuracy rates. Moreover, localization of the regions activated by complex additions in bilinguals differed from the typical activation pattern reported for mental arithmetic in recent meta-analyses (Arsalidou & Taylor, 2011). Taken together, our results indicate that highly proficient bilinguals rely on differential activation patterns than monolinguals to solve complex additions. The differences in left frontal activations might reflect different degrees of language-related automaticity when computing complex arithmetic problems. Executive functions that are necessary to control language context and access for bilinguals’ respective languages might also play a role. Further insights about the role of language in arithmetic solving process in bilingual and non-bilingual individuals will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe development of number symbol processing: A fast periodic visual stimulation study
Mejias, Sandrine; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2014)

In our cultures the meaning of number symbols is acquired and reinforced through education. Accordingly, it is critical to understand how children become experts in the use of Arabic numbers (AN). Here ... [more ▼]

In our cultures the meaning of number symbols is acquired and reinforced through education. Accordingly, it is critical to understand how children become experts in the use of Arabic numbers (AN). Here, we used fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) combined with a repetition-suppression paradigm (Rossion & Boremanse, 2011) to measure rapidly and objectively the sensitivity to symbolic numerical stimuli of 6-to-12-y.o. children (n=20) and adults (n=11). Participants were presented four sequences: two of AN and two of AN-like sham stimuli. Half of the sequences consisted of different stimuli (“10”, “18”, “12”,...), the other half of same stimuli (“10”) presented repeatedly. Stimuli appeared at 3.5 items/second (fundamental frequency=3.5 Hz), for 60 seconds. We observed a large increase of the EEG response at 3.5 Hz (a steady-state visual-evoked potential; Regan, 1966) over parieto-occipital electrodes. This response was larger during different than same sequences, especially when participants saw real (vs. sham) AN. The amplitude of this specific response to numbers increased with children’s age. Moreover its location changed from posterior occipital electrodes in childhood to more lateral parietal electrodes in adulthood. These results indicate that FPVS of AN is a promising tool to study the sensitivity to numerical magnitude in children and adults. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscrimination of Numerosities in children studied by means of Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation
Mejias, Sandrine; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2014)

We are constantly dealing with quantities in our environment. This ability to process numerical magnitude is present in infants (Izard et al., 2009), a variety of animal species (Flombaum et al., 2005 ... [more ▼]

We are constantly dealing with quantities in our environment. This ability to process numerical magnitude is present in infants (Izard et al., 2009), a variety of animal species (Flombaum et al., 2005) and in tribes with small number words lexicon (Pica et al., 2004). It implies that our brain is able to extract the total number of items in a scene, regardless of perceptual interference (non-numerical properties of the stimuli). However, this ability seems to be refined through development (Halberda et al., 2012), due to visual-perception maturation and/or educational environment, e.g. when learning arithmetic. Here, we measured rapidly and objectively 6-to-12-y.o. children’s sensitivity to (non-)symbolic numerical stimuli (dots or Arabic numbers), using fast periodic visual stimulation (FVPS) as implemented in a repetition-suppression paradigm (Rossion & Boremanse, 2011). Children were presented with stimuli appearing at 3.5 items/second (fundamental frequency=3.5 Hz), for 60 seconds. Half of the sequences consisted of different stimuli at every cycle of stimulation (e.g., “10”, “18”, “12”,...), the other half of sequences were composed of same stimuli (“10”) repeated throughout the whole sequence. We observed a large increase of the EEG response at the fundamental frequency (a steady-state visual evoked potential; Regan, 1966) over the lateral parieto-occipital electrodes sites. This response was reduced when the same stimulus was repeated, especially for symbolic stimuli. These results are correlated to children’s age and visual-perception, arithmetic and non-symbolic numerical abilities (L-POST, KRT, Panamath). They indicate that FPVS of (non-)symbolic numerosities is a promising tool to study children’s sensitivity to numerical magnitude. [less ▲]

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See detailHow the human brain discriminates numerosities: A steady-state visual-evoked potentials study
Mejias, Sandrine; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2013, May 28)

This study aimed at measuring rapidly and objectively human adults' sensitivity to (non)symbolic numerical stimuli, using the steady-state visual-evoked potentials (1) response in the context of ... [more ▼]

This study aimed at measuring rapidly and objectively human adults' sensitivity to (non)symbolic numerical stimuli, using the steady-state visual-evoked potentials (1) response in the context of repetition suppression (2). It aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of the method and evaluate its potential to tap into the basic numerical representation systems that can be assumed to underlie symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparisons. Following a short duration experiment, we observed a large reduction of signal specifically at the 3.5 Hz response, over the occipito-temporo-parietal cortex. This reduction was greater for symbolic than non-symbolic control stimuli. This first observation of repetition suppression to fast periodic stimulation of symbolic and non-symbolic numerosities in the human brain offers a promising tool to study the sensitivity to numerosities in the human brain in adults, but also especially in children. [less ▲]

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See detailHow the human brain discriminates numerosities: A steady-state visual-evoked potentials study
Mejias, Sandrine; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL

Poster (2013)

This study aimed at measuring rapidly and objectively human adults' sensitivity to (non)symbolic numerical stimuli, using the steady-state visual-evoked potentials (1) response in the context of ... [more ▼]

This study aimed at measuring rapidly and objectively human adults' sensitivity to (non)symbolic numerical stimuli, using the steady-state visual-evoked potentials (1) response in the context of repetition suppression (2). It aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of the method and evaluate its potential to tap into the basic numerical representation systems that can be assumed to underlie symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparisons. Following a short duration experiment, we observed a large reduction of signal specifically at the 3.5 Hz response, over the occipito-temporo-parietal cortex. This reduction was greater for symbolic than non-symbolic control stimuli. This first observation of repetition suppression to fast periodic stimulation of symbolic and non-symbolic numerosities in the human brain offers a promising tool to study the sensitivity to numerosities in the human brain in adults, but also especially in children. [less ▲]

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See detailCerebral lateralization of the face-cortical network in left-handers: only the FFA does not get it right
Bukowski, Henryk; Rossion, Bruno; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Journal of Vision (2010), 10(7),

Face processing is a function that is highly lateralized in humans, as supported by original evidence from brain lesion studies (Hecaen & Anguerlergues, 1962), followed by studies using divided visual ... [more ▼]

Face processing is a function that is highly lateralized in humans, as supported by original evidence from brain lesion studies (Hecaen & Anguerlergues, 1962), followed by studies using divided visual field presentations (Heller & Levy, 1981), neuroimaging (Sergent et al., 1992) and event-related potentials (Bentin et al., 1996). Studies in non-human primates (Perrett et al., 1988; Zangenehpour & Chaudhuri, 2005), or other mammals (Peirce & Kendrick, 2001) support the right lateralization of the function, which may be related to a dominance of the right hemisphere in global visual processing. However, in humans there is evidence that manual preference may shift or qualify the pattern of lateralization for faces in the visual cortex: face recognition impairments following unilateral left hemisphere brain damage have been found only in a few left-handers (e.g., Mattson et al., 1992; Barton, 2009). Here we measured the pattern of lateralization in the entire cortical face network in right and left-handers (12 subjects in each group) using a well-balanced face-localizer block paradigm in fMRI (faces, cars, and their phase-scrambled versions). While the FFA was strongly right lateralized in right-handers, as described previously, it was equally strong in both hemispheres in left-handers. In contrast, other areas of the face-sensitive network (posterior superior temporal sulcus, pSTS; occipital face area, OFA; anterior infero-temporal cortex, AIT; amygdala) remained identically right lateralized in both left- and right-handers. Accordingly, our results strongly suggest that the face-sensitive network is equally lateralized for left- and right-handers, and thus the face processing is not influenced by handedness. However, the FFA is an important exception since it is right-lateralized for right-handers but its recruitment is more balanced between hemispheres for left-handers. These observations carry important theoretical and clinical implications for the aetiology of brain lateralization depending on the left- or right-handedness and the neuropsychological undertaking of prosopagnosic patients. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterizing the face processing network in the human brain: a large-scale fMRI localizer study
Dricot, Laurence; Hanseeuw, Bernard; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Journal of Vision (2010), 10(7),

A whole network of brain areas showing larger response to faces than other visual stimuli has been identified in the human brain using fMRI (Sergent, 1992; Haxby, 2000). Most studies identify only a ... [more ▼]

A whole network of brain areas showing larger response to faces than other visual stimuli has been identified in the human brain using fMRI (Sergent, 1992; Haxby, 2000). Most studies identify only a subset of this network, by comparing the presentation of face pictures to all kinds of object categories mixed up (e.g., Kanwisher, 1997), or to scrambled faces (e.g., Ishaï, 2005), using different statistical thresholds. Given these differences of approaches, the (sub)cortical face network can be artificially overextended (Downing & Wiggett, 2008), or minimized in different studies, both at the local (size of regions) and global (number of regions) levels. Here we conducted an analysis of a large set of right-handed subjects (40), tested with a new whole-brain localizer to control for both high-level and low-level differences between faces and objects. Pictures of faces, cars and their phase-scrambled counterparts were used in a 2x2 block design. Group-level (random effect) and single subject (ROI) analyses were made. A conjunction of two contrasts (F-SF and F-C) identified 6 regions: FFA, OFA, amygdala, pSTS, AIT and thalamus. All these regions but the amygdala showed clear right lateralization. Interestingly, the FFA showed the least face-selective response among the cortical face network: it presented a significantly larger response to pictures of cars than scrambled cars [t=9.3, much more than amygdala (t=2.6), AIT (t=2.1) and other regions (NS)], and was also sensitive to low-level properties of faces [SF - SO; t=5.1; NS in other areas]. These observations suggest that, contrary to other areas of the network, including the OFA, the FFA is a region that may contain populations of neurons that are specific to faces intermixed with populations responding more generally to object categories. More generally, this study helps understanding the extent and specificity of the network of (sub)cortical areas particularly involved in face processing. [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 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 detailThe spatio-temporal correlates of holistic face perception
Schiltz, Christine UL; Jacques, Corentin; Rossion, Bruno

Poster (2007, May)

It is well known that faces are perceived holistically: their parts are integrated into a global or so-called holistic individual representation. Here we clarify where and how early in time individual ... [more ▼]

It is well known that faces are perceived holistically: their parts are integrated into a global or so-called holistic individual representation. Here we clarify where and how early in time individual holistic representations are extracted from the visual stimulus, by means of an event-related identity adaptation paradigm in fMRI (study 1; 10 subjects) and ERPs (study 2; 16 subjects). During blocks, subjects were presented with trials made of two sequentially presented faces and performed a same/different judgement on the top parts of each pair of faces. Face parts were presented either aligned or misaligned. For each face pair, the identity of top and bottom parts could be (a) both identical, (b) both different, (c) different only for the bottom part. The latter manipulation resulted in a strong face composite illusion behaviourally, i.e. the perception of identical top parts as being different, only in the aligned format. In the face-sensitive area of the middle fusiform gyrus (‘fusiform face area’) we observed a stronger response to the top part perceived as being different (release from adaptation), but only when the top and the bottom parts were aligned. It is consistent with the illusion of viewing different top parts of faces, and this release from fMR-adaptation is similar to the one observed in the ‘different’ condition for both aligned and misaligned parts. The same observations were made in ERPs as early as 150 ms, the amplitude of the electrophysiological response at occipito-temporal sites to the second face stimulus being reduced for identical relative to different top face parts, and to identical top parts perceived as different (aligned - bottom different). With both methods, the effects were stronger in the right hemisphere. Altogether, these observations indicate that individual faces are perceived holistically as early as 150 ms in the occipito-temporal cortex. [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 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 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 detailFaces are represented holistically in the human occipito-temporal cortex
Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

in NeuroImage (2006), 32(3), 1385-1394

Two identical top parts of a face photograph look different if their bottom parts differ. This perceptual illusion, the "face composite effect", is taken as strong evidence that faces are processed as a ... [more ▼]

Two identical top parts of a face photograph look different if their bottom parts differ. This perceptual illusion, the "face composite effect", is taken as strong evidence that faces are processed as a whole rather than as a collection of independent features. To test the hypothesis that areas responding preferentially to faces in the human brain represent faces holistically, we recorded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an adaptation paradigm with the composite face illusion. In both the middle fusiform gyrus (MFG) and the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG), we observed a significantly larger response to the same top face when it was aligned with different bottom parts than with the same bottom part, with a most robust effect in the right middle fusiform gyrus. This difference was not found when the top and the bottom face parts were spatially misaligned or when the faces were presented upside-down. These findings indicate that facial features are integrated into holistic face representations in areas of the human visual cortex responding preferentially to faces. [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 detailRecovery from adaptation to facial identity is larger for upright than inverted faces in the human occipito-temporal cortex
Mazard, Angelique; Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2006), 44(6), 912-922

Human faces look more similar to each other when they are presented upside-down, leading to an increase of error rates and response times during individual face discrimination tasks. Here we used ... [more ▼]

Human faces look more similar to each other when they are presented upside-down, leading to an increase of error rates and response times during individual face discrimination tasks. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the hypothesis that this perceived similarity leads to a lower recovery from identity adaptation for inverted faces than for upright faces in face-sensitive areas of the occipito-temporal cortex. Ten subjects were presented with blocks of upright and inverted faces, with the same face identity repeated consecutively in half of the blocks, and different facial identities repeated in the other blocks. When face stimuli were presented upright, the percent signal change in the bilateral middle fusiform gyrus (MFG) was larger for different faces as compared to same faces, replicating previous observations of a recovery from facial identity adaptation in this region. However, there was no significant recovery from adaptation when different inverted faces were presented. Most interestingly, the difference in activation between upright and inverted faces increased progressively during a block when different facial identities were presented. A similar pattern of activation was found in the left middle fusiform gyrus, but was less clear-cut in bilateral face-sensitive areas of the inferior occipital cortex. These findings show that the differential level of activation to upright and inverted faces in the fusiform gyrus is mainly due to a difference in recovery from adaptation, and they explain the discrepancies in the results reported in previous fMRI studies which compared the processing of upright and inverted faces. The lack of recovery from adaptation for inverted faces in the fusiform gyrus may underlie the face inversion effect (FIE), which takes place during perceptual encoding of individual face representations. [less ▲]

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See detailFaces are processed holistically in the right middle fusiform gyrus
Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

Scientific Conference (2005, May)

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