The Neural Basis of Individual Face and Object Perception

R. Watson, Elisabeth M. J. Huis 't Veld, Beatrice de Gelder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We routinely need to process the identity of many faces around us, and how the brain achieves this is still the subject of much research in cognitive neuroscience. To date, insights on face identity processing have come from both healthy and clinical populations. However, in order to directly compare results across and within participant groups, and across different studies, it is crucial that a standard task is utilized which includes different exemplars (for example, non-face stimuli along with faces), is memory neutral, and taps into identity matching across orientation and across viewpoint change. The goal of this study was to test a previously behaviourally tested face and object identity matching design in a healthy control sample whilst being scanned using fMRI. Specifically, we investigated categorical, orientation, and category-specific orientation effects while participants were focused on identity matching of simultaneously presented exemplar stimuli. Alongside observing category and orientation specific effects in a distributed set of brain regions, we also saw an interaction between stimulus category and orientation in the bilateral fusiform gyrus and bilateral middle occipital gyrus. Generally these clusters showed the pattern of a heightened response to inverted versus upright faces, and to upright, as compared to inverted shoes. These results are discussed in relation to previous studies and to potential future research within prosopagnosic individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • face processing
  • identity recognition
  • prosopagnosia
  • categorical perception


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