Location of human face-selective cortex with respect to retinotopic areas

Hum Brain Mapp. 1999;7(1):29-37. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0193(1999)7:1<29::AID-HBM3>3.0.CO;2-R.


Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was used to identify a small area in the human posterior fusiform gyrus that responds selectively to faces (PF). In the same subjects, phase-encoded rotating and expanding checkerboards were used with fMRI to identify the retinotopic visual areas V1, V2, V3, V3A, VP and V4v. PF was found to lie anterior to area V4v, with a small gap present between them. Further recordings in some of the same subjects used moving low-contrast rings to identify the visual motion area MT. PF was found to lie ventral to MT. In addition, preliminary evidence was found using fMRI for a small area that responded to inanimate objects but not to faces in the collateral sulcus medial to PF. The retinotopic visual areas and MT responded equally to faces, control randomized stimuli, and objects. Weakly face-selective responses were also found in ventrolateral occipitotemporal cortex anterior to V4v, as well as in the middle temporal gyrus anterior to MT. We conclude that the fusiform face area in humans lies in non-retinotopic visual association cortex of the ventral form-processing stream, in an area that may be roughly homologous in location to area TF or CITv in monkeys.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / blood supply
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*