Contrasting Specializations for Facial Motion within the Macaque Face-Processing System

TitleContrasting Specializations for Facial Motion within the Macaque Face-Processing System
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsFisher, C, Freiwald, WA
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume25
Issue2
Start Page261
Type of ArticleReport
Abstract

Facial motion transmits rich and ethologically vital information
[1, 2], but how the brain interprets this complex signal is
poorly understood. Facial form is analyzed by anatomically
distinct face patches in the macaque brain [3, 4], and facial
motion activates these patches and surrounding areas [5,
6]. Yet, it is not known whether facial motion is processed
by its own distinct and specialized neural machinery, and if
so, what that machinery’s organization might be. To address
these questions, we used fMRI to monitor the brain activity
of macaque monkeys while they viewed low- and high-level
motion and form stimuli. We found that, beyond classical
motion areas and the known face patch system, moving
faces recruited a heretofore unrecognized face patch.
Although all face patches displayed distinctive selectivity
for face motion over object motion, only two face patches
preferred naturally moving faces, while three others
preferred randomized, rapidly varying sequences of facial
form. This functional divide was anatomically specific,
segregating dorsal from ventral face patches, thereby
revealing a new organizational principle of the macaque
face-processing system.

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