Functional Subpopulations of Neurons in a Macaque Face Patch Revealed by Single-Unit fMRI Mapping

Neuron. 2017 Aug 16;95(4):971-981.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.07.014. Epub 2017 Jul 27.


Neurons within fMRI-defined face patches of the macaque brain exhibit shared categorical responses to flashed images but diverge in their responses under more natural viewing conditions. Here we investigate functional diversity among neurons in the anterior fundus (AF) face patch, combining whole-brain fMRI with longitudinal single-unit recordings in a local population (<1 mm3). For each cell, we computed a whole-brain correlation map based on its shared time course with voxels throughout the brain during naturalistic movie viewing. Based on this mapping, neighboring neurons showed markedly different affiliation with distant visually responsive areas and fell coarsely into subpopulations. Of these, only one subpopulation (∼16% of neurons) yielded similar correlation maps to the local fMRI signal. The results employ the readout of large-scale fMRI networks and, by indicating multiple functional domains within a single voxel, present a new view of functional diversity within a local neural population.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Oxygen