Distinct representations of eye gaze and identity in the distributed human neural system for face perception

Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jan;3(1):80-4. doi: 10.1038/71152.


Face perception requires representation of invariant aspects that underlie identity recognition as well as representation of changeable aspects, such as eye gaze and expression, that facilitate social communication. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated the perception of face identity and eye gaze in the human brain. Perception of face identity was mediated more by regions in the inferior occipital and fusiform gyri, and perception of eye gaze was mediated more by regions in the superior temporal sulci. Eye-gaze perception also seemed to recruit the spatial cognition system in the intraparietal sulcus to encode the direction of another's gaze and to focus attention in that direction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular*
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reference Values
  • Space Perception / physiology