Subcortical face processing

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Oct;6(10):766-74. doi: 10.1038/nrn1766.


Recent functional imaging, neuropsychological and electrophysiological studies on adults have provided evidence for a fast, low-spatial-frequency, subcortical face-detection pathway that modulates the responses of certain cortical areas to faces and other social stimuli. These findings shed light on an older literature on the face-detection abilities of newborn infants, and the hypothesis that these newborn looking preferences are generated by a subcortical route. Converging lines of evidence indicate that the subcortical face route provides a developmental foundation for what later becomes the adult cortical 'social brain' network, and that disturbances to this pathway might contribute to certain developmental disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Face*
  • Humans
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*