Using a novel, fMRI-based inter-subject functional correlation (ISFC) approach, which isolates stimulus-locked inter-regional correlation patterns, we compared the cortical topology of the neural circuit for face processing in participants with an impairment in face recognition, congenital prosopagnosia (CP), and matched controls. Whereas the anterior temporal lobe served as the major network hub for face processing in controls, this was not the case for the CPs. Instead, this group evinced hyper-connectivity in posterior regions of the visual cortex, mostly associated with the lateral occipital and the inferior temporal cortices. Moreover, the extent of this hyper-connectivity was correlated with the face recognition deficit. These results offer new insights into the perturbed cortical topology in CP, which may serve as the underlying neural basis of the behavioral deficits typical of this disorder. The approach adopted here has the potential to uncover altered topologies in other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well.
Keywords: brain; face processing; functional connectivity; human; network analysis; neuroscience; prosopagnosia; ventral cortex.