fMRI of the face-processing network in the ventral temporal lobe of awake and anesthetized macaques

Neuron. 2011 Apr 28;70(2):352-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.02.048.


The primate brain features specialized areas devoted to processing of faces, which human imaging studies localized in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) and ventral temporal cortex. Studies in macaque monkeys, in contrast, revealed face selectivity predominantly in the STS. While this discrepancy could result from a true species difference, it may simply be the consequence of technical difficulties in obtaining high-quality MR images from the ventral temporal lobe. By using an optimized fMRI protocol we here report face-selective areas in ventral TE, the parahippocampal cortex, the entorhinal cortex, and the hippocampus of awake macaques, in addition to those already known in the STS. Notably, the face-selective activation of these memory-related areas was observed although the animals were passively viewing and it was preserved even under anesthesia. These results point to similarly extensive cortical networks for face processing in humans and monkeys and highlight potential homologs of the human fusiform face area.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia*
  • Anesthetics / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Face*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / blood supply*
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Recognition, Psychology / drug effects
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Temporal Lobe / drug effects
  • Wakefulness*


  • Anesthetics
  • Oxygen