Neurons in the cortex of the temporal lobe and in the amygdala of the monkey with responses selective for faces

Hum Neurobiol. 1984;3(4):209-22.


There are populations of neurons in the temporal lobe of the macaque which appear to be specialised to respond to faces. These neurons are relatively rare in the inferior temporal visual cortex, area TE, but are more common in the cortex in the middle and anterior parts of the superior temporal sulcus. In some cases these neurons can respond to parts of faces such as the eyes, and in other cases a fuller complement of the features present in faces, with even the correct configuration of these features, appears to be necessary for these neurons to respond. In experiments to investigate whether the responses of these neurons would be useful for recognition of an individual, it has been shown that in many cases (77% of one sample), these neurons are sensitive to differences between faces. In experiments designed to investigate the information required for these neurons to respond, it has been shown that these neurons can respond to blurred images of faces, and to faces with only the high spatial frequencies included. A population of neurons with face-selective responses has also been found in the amygdala, which receives inputs from the temporal lobe visual cortex. In many cases these neurons respond differently to different faces. It is suggested that the importance of this type of neuron may be in the different emotional and social responses which occur to different faces, and which are disrupted by damage to the amygdala.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / cytology
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Face*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*