The human temporal lobe integrates facial form and motion: evidence from fMRI and ERP studies

Neuroimage. 2003 Jul;19(3):861-9. doi: 10.1016/s1053-8119(03)00189-7.


Physiological studies in humans and monkeys indicate that the posterior temporal cortex is active when viewing the movements of others. Here we tested the premise that this region integrates form and motion information by presenting both natural and line-drawn displays of moving faces and motion controls where motion was continuously presented in the same part of the visual field. The cortex in and near the STS and on the fusiform gyrus (FG) responded to both types of face stimuli, but not to the controls, in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in 10 normal subjects. The response in the STS to both types of facial motion was equal in magnitude, whereas in the FG the natural image of the face produced a significantly greater response than that of the line-drawn face. In a subsequent recording session, the electrical activity of the brain was recorded in the same subjects to the same activation task. Significantly larger event-related potentials (ERPs) to both types of moving faces were observed over the posterior temporal scalp compared to the motion controls at around 200 ms postmotion onset. Taken together, these data suggest that regions of temporal cortex actively integrate form and motion information-a process largely independent of low-level visual processes such as changes in local luminance and contrast.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Face
  • Female
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology