Reference : Is human face recognition lateralized to the right hemisphere due to neural competiti...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Is human face recognition lateralized to the right hemisphere due to neural competition with left‑lateralized visual word recognition? A critical review
Rossion, Bruno mailto [Université de Lorraine > CNRS-CRAN > > ; CHRU-Nancy > > service de Neurologie]
Lochy, Aliette mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS) >]
Brain Structure and Function
Asymmetry of brain structure and function: 40 years after Sperry’s Nobel Prize
[en] Neural competition ; Faces ; Words ; FFA ; VWFA
[en] The right hemispheric lateralization of face recognition, which is well documented and appears to be specific to the human
species, remains a scientific mystery. According to a long-standing view, the evolution of language, which is typically substantiated
in the left hemisphere, competes with the cortical space in that hemisphere available for visuospatial processes,
including face recognition. Over the last decade, a specific hypothesis derived from this view according to which neural
competition in the left ventral occipito-temporal cortex with selective representations of letter strings causes right hemispheric
lateralization of face recognition, has generated considerable interest and research in the scientific community. Here,
a systematic review of studies performed in various populations (infants, children, literate and illiterate adults, left-handed
adults) and methodologies (behavior, lesion studies, (intra)electroencephalography, neuroimaging) offers little if any support
for this reading lateralized neural competition hypothesis. Specifically, right-lateralized face-selective neural activity
already emerges at a few months of age, well before reading acquisition. Moreover, consistent evidence of face recognition
performance and its right hemispheric lateralization being modulated by literacy level during development or at adulthood
is lacking. Given the absence of solid alternative hypotheses and the key role of neural competition in the sensory–motor
cortices for selectivity of representations, learning, and plasticity, a revised language-related neural competition hypothesis
for the right hemispheric lateralization of face recognition should be further explored in future research, albeit with substantial
conceptual clarification and advances in methodological rigor.
Researchers ; Students
FnR ; FNR11015111 > Christine Schiltz > Face perception > Understanding The Relationship Between Electrophysiological Indexes Of Face Perception With Fast Perodic Visual Stimulation And Explicit Behavioral Measures > 01/10/2016 > 30/09/2020 > 2015

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