Neural Decoding Reveals Impaired Face Configural Processing in the Right Fusiform Face Area of Individuals with Developmental Prosopagnosia
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CitationZhang, J., J. Liu, and Y. Xu. 2015. “Neural Decoding Reveals Impaired Face Configural Processing in the Right Fusiform Face Area of Individuals with Developmental Prosopagnosia.” Journal of Neuroscience 35 (4) (January 28): 1539–1548. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.2646-14.2015.
AbstractMost of human daily social interactions rely on the ability to successfully recognize faces. Yet ∼2% of the human population suffers from face blindness without any acquired brain damage [this is also known as developmental prosopagnosia (DP) or congenital prosopagnosia]). Despite the presence of severe behavioral face recognition deficits, surprisingly, a majority of DP individuals exhibit normal face selectivity in the right fusiform face area (FFA), a key brain region involved in face configural processing. This finding, together with evidence showing impairments downstream from the right FFA in DP individuals, has led some to argue that perhaps the right FFA is largely intact in DP individuals. Using fMRI multivoxel pattern analysis, here we report the discovery of a neural impairment in the right FFA of DP individuals that may play a critical role in mediating their face-processing deficits. In seven individuals with DP, we discovered that, despite the right FFA's preference for faces and it showing decoding for the different face parts, it exhibited impaired face configural decoding and did not contain distinct neural response patterns for the intact and the scrambled face configurations. This abnormality was not present throughout the ventral visual cortex, as normal neural decoding was found in an adjacent object-processing region. To our knowledge, this is the first direct neural evidence showing impaired face configural processing in the right FFA in individuals with DP. The discovery of this neural impairment provides a new clue to our understanding of the neural basis of DP.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:23842856
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