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See detailDissociated face- and word-selective intracerebral responses in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex.
Hagen, Simen; Lochy, Aliette UL; Jacques, Corentin et al

in Brain Structure & Function (2021), 226(9), 3031-49

The extent to which faces and written words share neural circuitry in the human brain is actively debated. Here, we compare face-selective and word-selective responses in a large group of patients (N = 37 ... [more ▼]

The extent to which faces and written words share neural circuitry in the human brain is actively debated. Here, we compare face-selective and word-selective responses in a large group of patients (N = 37) implanted with intracerebral electrodes in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC). Both face-selective (i.e., significantly different responses to faces vs. non-face visual objects) and word-selective (i.e., significantly different responses to words vs. pseudofonts) neural activity is isolated with frequency-tagging. Critically, this sensitive approach allows to objectively quantify category-selective neural responses and disentangle them from general visual responses. About 70% of significant electrode contacts show either face-selectivity or word-selectivity only, with the expected right and left hemispheric dominance, respectively. Spatial dissociations are also found within core regions of face and word processing, with a medio-lateral dissociation in the fusiform gyrus (FG) and surrounding sulci, respectively. In the 30% of overlapping face- and word-selective contacts across the VOTC or in the FG and surrounding sulci, between-category-selective amplitudes (faces vs. words) show no-to-weak correlations, despite strong correlations in both the within-category-selective amplitudes (face–face, word–word) and the general visual responses to words and faces. Overall, these observations support the view that category-selective circuitry for faces and written words is largely dissociated in the human adult VOTC.Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s00429-021-02350-4. [less ▲]

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See detailDissociated face- and word-selective intracerebral responses in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex
Hagen, Simen; Lochy, Aliette UL; Jacques, Corentin et al

in Journal of Vision (2020, October), 20(11),

The extent to which faces and written words share neural circuitry in the human brain is actively debated. We provide an original contribution to this debate by comparing face-selective and word-selective ... [more ▼]

The extent to which faces and written words share neural circuitry in the human brain is actively debated. We provide an original contribution to this debate by comparing face-selective and word-selective responses in a large group of patients (N=37) implanted with intracerebral electrodes in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC). Both face-selective (i.e., significantly different responses to faces vs. nonface objects) and word-selective (i.e., significantly different responses to words vs. pseudofonts) neural activity is isolated through frequency-tagging (Jonas et al., 2016; Lochy et al., 2018, respectively). Critically, this approach allows disentangling category-selective neural responses from general visual responses. Overall, we find that 69.26% of significant contacts show either face- or word-selectivity, with the expected right and left hemispheric dominance, respectively (Fig.1A,B). Moreover, the center of mass for word-contacts is more lateral than for face-contacts, with no differences in postero-anterior axis (Fig.2A). Spatial dissociations are also found within core regions of face and word processing, with a medio-lateral dissociation in the fusiform gyrus (FG) and surrounding sulci (FG+sulci;Fig.2B), while a postero-anterior dissociation is found in the inferior occipital gyrus (IOG;Fig.2C). Despite their spatial dissociations in the FG+sulci and IOG, most overlap in category-selective responses is found in these regions (Fig.1C). Critically, in the overlap-contacts, across the whole brain or specifically in the FG+sulci, between-category (word-face) selective-amplitudes showed no-to-weak correlations, despite strong correlations for within-category (face-face, word-word) selective-amplitudes (Fig.3A), and a strong correlation in non-selective general-amplitudes to words-faces. Moreover, substantial overlap and no-to-weak correlations were observed between faces and a control category (houses) known to be functionally dissociated from faces. Overall, we conclude that category-selectivity for faces and words is largely dissociated in the human VOTC, with a limited spatial overlap likely due to the distant recording of dissociated populations of neurons rather than to shared category-selective representations. [less ▲]

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See detailSelective visual representation of letters and words in the left ventral occipito-temporal cortex with intracerebral recordings.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Jacques, Corentin; Maillard, Louis et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2018), 115(32), 7595-7604

We report a comprehensive cartography of selective responses to visual letters and words in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC) with direct neural recordings, clarifying key aspects of the ... [more ▼]

We report a comprehensive cartography of selective responses to visual letters and words in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex (VOTC) with direct neural recordings, clarifying key aspects of the neural basis of reading. Intracerebral recordings were performed in a large group of patients (n = 37) presented with visual words inserted periodically in rapid sequences of pseudofonts, nonwords, or pseudowords, enabling classification of responses at three levels of word processing: letter, prelexical, and lexical. While letter-selective responses are found in much of the VOTC, with a higher proportion in left posterior regions, prelexical/lexical responses are confined to the middle and anterior sections of the left fusiform gyrus. This region overlaps with and extends more anteriorly than the visual word form area typically identified with functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this region, prelexical responses provide evidence for populations of neurons sensitive to the statistical regularity of letter combinations independently of lexical responses to familiar words. Despite extensive sampling in anterior ventral temporal regions, there is no hierarchical organization between prelexical and lexical responses in the left fusiform gyrus. Overall, distinct word processing levels depend on neural populations that are spatially intermingled rather than organized according to a strict postero-anterior hierarchy in the left VOTC. [less ▲]

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