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Fast periodic stimulation (FPS): a highly effective approach in fMRI brain mapping

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Defining the neural basis of perceptual categorization in a rapidly changing natural environment with low-temporal resolution methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is challenging. Here, we present a novel fast periodic stimulation (FPS)-fMRI approach to define face-selective brain regions with natural images. Human observers are presented with a dynamic stream of widely variable natural object images alternating at a fast rate (6 images/s). Every 9 s, a short burst of variable face images contrasting with object images in pairs induces an objective face-selective neural response at 0.111 Hz. A model-free Fourier analysis achieves a twofold increase in signal-to-noise ratio compared to a conventional block-design approach with identical stimuli and scanning duration, allowing to derive a comprehensive map of face-selective areas in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex, including the anterior temporal lobe (ATL), in all individual brains. Critically, periodicity of the desired category contrast and random variability among widely diverse images effectively eliminates the contribution of low-level visual cues, and lead to the highest values (80-90%) of test-retest reliability in the spatial activation map yet reported in imaging higher level visual functions. FPS-fMRI opens a new avenue for understanding brain function with low-temporal resolution methods.

    Research areas

  • fMRI, Brain mapping, Frequency tagging, Visual categorization, Face, VENTRAL TEMPORAL CORTEX, FACE-PROCESSING NETWORK, FUNCTIONAL LOCALIZERS, SELECTIVE REGIONS, NEURAL RESPONSE, VISUAL PATHWAY, FACIAL IDENTITY, SENSITIVE AREAS, FUSIFORM GYRUS, ALPHA-ACTIVITY, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods, Male, Young Adult, Brain/diagnostic imaging, Adult, Female, Periodicity, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Brain Mapping, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Oxygen/blood
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2433-2454
Number of pages22
JournalBrain Structure & Function
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018