Identifying the brain’s own facial recognition system

October 25, 2012

Two locations in the brain’s fusiform gyrus respond to faces (red) but not to other objects (yellow) (credit: J. Parvizi et al./J. Neurosci, Advance Online Edition)

The ability to recognize faces is so important in humans that the brain appears to have an area solely devoted to the task: the fusiform gyrus in the temporal lobe, Science Now reports.

Brain imaging studies consistently find that this region of  becomes active when people look at faces. Skeptics have countered, however, that these studies show only a correlation, but not proof, that activity in this area is essential for face recognition.

Now, a new study using electrocorticography, fMRI, and brain stimulation┬áprovides the first cause-and-effect evidence that neurons in this area help humans recognize faces — and only faces, not other body parts or objects.

parvizi_face_recognition

Video (credit: Stanford University)

 

References:

  • Forthcoming