Journal of Neurophysiology

Face-sensitive regions in human extrastriate cortex studied by functional MRI

A. Puce, T. Allison, J. C. Gore, G. McCarthy

Abstract

1. We have previously identified face-selective areas in the mid-fusiform and inferior temporal gyri in electrophysiological recordings made from chronically implanted subdural electrodes in epilepsy patients. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to study the anatomic extent of face-sensitive brain regions and to assess hemispheric laterality. 2. A time series of 128 gradient echo echoplanar images was acquired while subjects continuously viewed an alternating series of 10 unfamiliar faces followed by 10 equiluminant scrambled faces. Each cycle of this alternating sequence lasted 12 s and each experimental run consisted of 14 cycles. The time series of each voxel was transformed into the frequency domain using Fourier analysis. Activated voxels were defined by significant peaks in their power spectra at the frequency of stimulus alternation and by a 180 degrees phase shift that followed changes in stimulus alternation order. 3. Activated voxels to faces were obtained in the fusiform and inferior temporal gyri in 9 of 12 subjects and were approximately coextensive with previously identified face-selective regions. Nine subjects also showed activation in the left or right middle occipital gyri, or in the superior temporal or lateral occipital sulci. Cortical volumes activated in the left and right hemispheres were not significantly different. Activated voxels to scrambled faces were observed in six subjects at locations mainly in the lingual gyri and collateral sulci, medial to the regions activated by faces. 4. Face stimuli activated portions of the midfusiform and inferior temporal gyri, including adjacent cortex within occipitotemporal sulci.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)