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Functional organization of face processing in the human superior temporal sulcus : a 7T high-resolution fMRI study


Schobert, Anne-Kathrin; Corradi-Dell’Acqua, Corrado; Frühholz, Sascha; van der Zwaag, Wietske; Vuilleumier, Patrik (2018). Functional organization of face processing in the human superior temporal sulcus : a 7T high-resolution fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13(1):102-113.

Abstract

The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is a major component of the human face perception network, implicated in processing dynamic changeable aspects of faces. However, it remains unknown whether STS holds functionally segregated subdivisions for different categories of facial movements. We used high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 7T in 16 volunteers to compare STS activation with faces displaying angry or happy expressions, eye-gaze shifts and lip-speech movements. Combining univariate and multivariate analyses, we show a systematic topological organization within STS, with gaze-related activity predominating in the most posterior and superior sector, speech-related activity in the anterior sector and emotional expressions represented in the intermediate middle STS. Right STS appeared to hold a finer functional segregation between all four types of facial movements, and best discriminative abilities within the face-selective posterior STS (pSTS). Conversely, left STS showed greater overlap between conditions, with a lack of distinction between mouth movements associated to speech or happy expression and better discriminative abilities (for gaze and speech vs emotion conditions) outside pSTS. Differential sensitivity to upper (eye) or lower (mouth) facial features may contribute to, but does not appear to fully account for, these response patterns.

Abstract

The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is a major component of the human face perception network, implicated in processing dynamic changeable aspects of faces. However, it remains unknown whether STS holds functionally segregated subdivisions for different categories of facial movements. We used high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 7T in 16 volunteers to compare STS activation with faces displaying angry or happy expressions, eye-gaze shifts and lip-speech movements. Combining univariate and multivariate analyses, we show a systematic topological organization within STS, with gaze-related activity predominating in the most posterior and superior sector, speech-related activity in the anterior sector and emotional expressions represented in the intermediate middle STS. Right STS appeared to hold a finer functional segregation between all four types of facial movements, and best discriminative abilities within the face-selective posterior STS (pSTS). Conversely, left STS showed greater overlap between conditions, with a lack of distinction between mouth movements associated to speech or happy expression and better discriminative abilities (for gaze and speech vs emotion conditions) outside pSTS. Differential sensitivity to upper (eye) or lower (mouth) facial features may contribute to, but does not appear to fully account for, these response patterns.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:11 November 2018
Deposited On:27 Nov 2017 09:48
Last Modified:02 Jul 2018 09:11
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1749-5016
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsx119
PubMed ID:29140527
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID267171
  • : Project TitleBrain & BehaviouR InterDisciplinary rEsearch
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID51NF40-104897
  • : Project TitleNCCR Affective Sciences: Emotion in Individual Behavior and Social Processes

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