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Hierarchical organization of face-selective regions in macaque cortex as revealed by fMRI and pharmacological deactivation

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45



* FARE Award Winner


  • K.B. Jones
  • F. Hadj-Bouziane
  • J.N. Turchi
  • R.B.H Tootell
  • L.G. Ungerleider


Neuroimaging studies in humans and monkeys have reported several face-selective regions in the inferior temporal (IT) cortex. However, the functional relationship among these regions remains unclear. To clarify this functional network, we used fMRI combined with pharmacological silencing of specific nodes in this network. First, we mapped the face-selective regions and found the expected posterior and anterior face patches in IT cortex. Next, we infused the GABAA agonist muscimol into the given face patches to silence them, and then repeated the initial localizing fMRI experiments. We found that after deactivation of the posterior face patches, the responses to both faces and non-face objects in the anterior patches were eliminated. After deactivating the anterior face patches, the posterior face patches still but less responded to faces compared to vehicle infusion sessions. However, deactivation of the anterior face patches did not change the responses to non-face objects in the posterior face patches. In both conditions, the responses to faces and non-face objects were as same as vehicle infusion sessions in the object-selective regions, whereas reduced in the amygdala. These results demonstrate that the functional network among the face-selective and face-responsive regions is hierarchically organized and specifically processes face-related information.

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