Event-related potential and functional MRI measures of face-selectivity are highly correlated: a simultaneous ERP-fMRI investigation

Hum Brain Mapp. 2010 Oct;31(10):1490-501. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20952.


A face-selective neural signal is reliably found in humans with functional MRI and event-related potential (ERP) measures, which provide complementary information about the spatial and temporal properties of the neural response. However, because most neuroimaging studies so far have studied ERP and fMRI face-selective markers separately, the relationship between them is still unknown. Here we simultaneously recorded fMRI and ERP responses to faces and chairs to examine the correlations across subjects between the magnitudes of fMRI and ERP face-selectivity measures. Findings show that the face-selective responses in the temporal lobe (i.e., fusiform gyrus--FFA) and superior temporal sulcus (fSTS), but not the face-selective response in the occipital cortex (OFA), were highly correlated with the face-selective N170 component. In contrast, the OFA was correlated with earlier ERPs at about 110 ms after stimulus-onset. Importantly, these correlations reveal a temporal dissociation between the face-selective area in the occipital lobe and face-selective areas in the temporal lobe. Despite the very different time-scale of the fMRI and EEG signals, our data show that a correlation analysis across subjects may be informative with respect to the latency in which different brain regions process information.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Young Adult