MEG adaptation resolves the spatiotemporal characteristics of face-sensitive brain responses

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An unresolved goal in face perception is to identify brain areas involved in face processing and simultaneously understand the timing of their involvement. Currently, high spatial resolution imaging techniques identify the fusiform gyrus as subserving processing of invariant face features relating to identity. High temporal resolution imaging techniques localize an early latency evoked component-the N/M170-as having a major generator in the fusiform region; however, this evoked component is not believed to be associated with the processing of identity. To resolve this, we used novel magnetoencephalographic beamformer analyses to localize cortical regions in humans spatially with trial-by-trial activity that differentiated faces and objects and to interrogate their functional sensitivity by analyzing the effects of stimulus repetition. This demonstrated a temporal sequence of processing that provides category-level and then item-level invariance. The right fusiform gyrus showed adaptation to faces (not objects) at ∼150 ms after stimulus onset regardless of face identity; however, at the later latency of ∼200-300 ms, this area showed greater adaptation to repeated identity faces than to novel identities. This is consistent with an involvement of the fusiform region in both early and midlatency face-processing operations, with only the latter showing sensitivity to invariant face features relating to identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15088
Number of pages15096
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2015


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