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Published June 15, 2016 | Supplemental Material + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Anatomical Connections of the Functionally Defined "Face Patches" in the Macaque Monkey


The neural circuits underlying face recognition provide a model for understanding visual object representation, social cognition, and hierarchical information processing. A fundamental piece of information lacking to date is the detailed anatomical connections of the face patches. Here, we injected retrograde tracers into four different face patches (PL, ML, AL, AM) to characterize their anatomical connectivity. We found that the patches are strongly and specifically connected to each other, and individual patches receive inputs from extrastriate cortex, the medial temporal lobe, and three subcortical structures (the pulvinar, claustrum, and amygdala). Inputs from prefrontal cortex were surprisingly weak. Patches were densely interconnected to one another in both feedforward and feedback directions, inconsistent with a serial hierarchy. These results provide the first direct anatomical evidence that the face patches constitute a highly specialized system and suggest that subcortical regions may play a vital role in routing face-related information to subsequent processing stages.

Additional Information

© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Under an Elsevier user license. Received 2 December 2014, Revised 24 February 2016, Accepted 15 April 2016, Available online 2 June 2016. We thank members of the Tsao lab and the three anonymous reviewers for comments on the manuscript; N. Schweers for technical assistance; and S. Ohayon, P. Bao, and S. Moeller for assistance with data analysis. The work was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and by the NIH (1R01EY019702, P50 MH942581A).

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms793197.pdf

Supplemental Material - mmc1.pdf


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