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The neuropsychology of face perception : beyond simple dissociations and functional selectivity.

Atkinson, A.P. and Adolphs, R. (2011) 'The neuropsychology of face perception : beyond simple dissociations and functional selectivity.', Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B : biological sciences., 366 (1571). pp. 1726-1738.


Face processing relies on a distributed, patchy network of cortical regions in the temporal and frontal lobes that respond disproportionately to face stimuli, other cortical regions that are not even primarily visual (such as somatosensory cortex), and subcortical structures such as the amygdala. Higher-level face perception abilities, such as judging identity, emotion, and trustworthiness, appear to rely on an intact face-processing network that includes OFA, whereas lower-level face categorization abilities, such as discriminating faces from objects, can be achieved without OFA, perhaps via the direct connections to FFA from several extrastriate cortical areas. Some lesion, TMS and fMRI findings argue against a strict feedforward hierarchical model of face perception, in which the OFA is the principal and common source of input for other visual and non-visual cortical regions involved in face perception, including the FFA, face-selective STS and somatosensory cortex. Instead, these findings point to a more interactive model in which higher-level face perception abilities depend on the interplay between several functionally and anatomically distinct neural regions. Furthermore, the nature of these interactions may depend on the particular demands of the task. We review the lesion and TMS literature on this topic and highlight the dynamic and distributed nature of face processing.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Faces, Lesion studies, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Fusiform face area.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:18 February 2014
Date of first online publication:June 2011
Date first made open access:No date available

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