Distinct cortical networks for the detection and identification of human body

Neuroimage. 2009 May 1;45(4):1264-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.01.027. Epub 2009 Feb 6.


In the human brain information about bodies and faces is processed in specialized cortical regions named EBA and FBA (extrastriate and fusiform body area) and OFA and FFA (occipital and fusiform face area), respectively. Here we investigate with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the cortical areas responsible for the identification of individual bodies and the distinction between 'self' and 'others'. To this end we presented subjects with images of unfamiliar and familiar bodies and their own body. We identified separate coactivation networks for body-detection (processing body related information), body-identification (processing of information relating to individual bodies) and self-identification (distinction of self from others). Body detection involves the EBA in both hemispheres, and in the right hemisphere: the FBA and areas in the IPL (inferior parietal lobe). Body identification involves areas in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) of both hemispheres and in the right hemisphere areas in the medial frontal gyrus (MFG), in the cingulate gyrus (CG), in the central (CS) and the post-central sulcus (PCS), in the inferior parietal lobe (IPL) and the FBA. When the recognition of one's own body is contrasted to the identification of familiar bodies, differential activation is observed in areas of the inferior parietal lobe (IPL) and inferior parietal sulcus (IPS) of the right hemisphere, and in the posterior orbital gyrus (pOrbG) and in the lateral occipital gyrus (LOG) of the left hemisphere. Thus, identification of individual bodies and self-other distinction involve in addition to the classical occipito-parietal network a parieto-frontal network. Interestingly, the EBA shows no differential activation for distinctions between familiar or unfamiliar bodies or recognition of one's own body.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*