The functional neuroanatomy of face perception: from brain measurements to deep neural networks

Interface Focus. 2018 Aug 6;8(4):20180013. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2018.0013. Epub 2018 Jun 15.


A central goal in neuroscience is to understand how processing within the ventral visual stream enables rapid and robust perception and recognition. Recent neuroscientific discoveries have significantly advanced understanding of the function, structure and computations along the ventral visual stream that serve as the infrastructure supporting this behaviour. In parallel, significant advances in computational models, such as hierarchical deep neural networks (DNNs), have brought machine performance to a level that is commensurate with human performance. Here, we propose a new framework using the ventral face network as a model system to illustrate how increasing the neural accuracy of present DNNs may allow researchers to test the computational benefits of the functional architecture of the human brain. Thus, the review (i) considers specific neural implementational features of the ventral face network, (ii) describes similarities and differences between the functional architecture of the brain and DNNs, and (iii) provides a hypothesis for the computational value of implementational features within the brain that may improve DNN performance. Importantly, this new framework promotes the incorporation of neuroscientific findings into DNNs in order to test the computational benefits of fundamental organizational features of the visual system.

Keywords: fMRI; human ventral visual stream; population receptive field.

Publication types

  • Review