Face-identity change activation outside the face system: "release from adaptation" may not always indicate neuronal selectivity.

M. Mur, D.A. Ruff, J. Bodurka, P.A. Bandettini, N. Kriegeskorte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Face recognition is a complex cognitive process that requires distinguishable neuronal representations of individual faces. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies using the "fMRI-adaptation" technique have suggested the existence of face-identity representations in face-selective regions, including the fusiform face area (FFA). Here, we present face-identity adaptation findings that are not well explained in terms of face-identity representations. We performed blood-oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI measurements, while participants viewed familiar faces that were shown repeatedly throughout the experiment. We found decreased activation for repeated faces in face-selective regions, as expected based on previous studies. However, we found similar effects in regions that are not face-selective, including the parahippocampal place area (PPA) and early visual cortex (EVC). These effects were present for exact-image (same view and lighting) as well as different-image (different view and/or lighting) repetition, but more widespread for exact-image repetition. Given the known functional properties of PPA and EVC, it appears unlikely that they contain domain-specific face-identity representations. Alternative interpretations include general attentional effects and carryover of activation from connected regions. These results remind us that fMRI stimulus-change effects can have a range of causes and do not provide conclusive evidence for a neuronal representation of the changed stimulus property.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2027-2042
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

Cite this