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Published September 2009 | Supplemental Material + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

A face feature space in the macaque temporal lobe


The ability of primates to effortlessly recognize faces has been attributed to the existence of specialized face areas. One such area, the macaque middle face patch, consists almost entirely of cells that are selective for faces, but the principles by which these cells analyze faces are unknown. We found that middle face patch neurons detect and differentiate faces using a strategy that is both part based and holistic. Cells detected distinct constellations of face parts. Furthermore, cells were tuned to the geometry of facial features. Tuning was most often ramp-shaped, with a one-to-one mapping of feature magnitude to firing rate. Tuning amplitude depended on the presence of a whole, upright face and features were interpreted according to their position in a whole, upright face. Thus, cells in the middle face patch encode axes of a face space specialized for whole, upright faces.

Additional Information

© 2009 Nature Publishing Group. Received 17 April; accepted 3 June; published online 9 August 2009. We are grateful to the late D. Freeman and N. Nallasamy for stimulus programming; R. Tootell, W. Vanduffel and members of the Massachusetts General Hospital monkey fMRI group for assistance with scanning; A. Dale and A. van der Kouwe for allowing us to use their multi-echo sequence and undistortion algorithm; T. Chuprina and N. Schweers for animal care and Guerbet for providing Sinerem contrast agent. This work was sponsored by US National Institutes of Health grant EY16187 and German Science Foundation grant FR 1437/3-1. D.Y.T. was supported by a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Methods and their associated references appear only online. Note: Supplementary information is available on the Nature Neuroscience website.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms173109.pdf

Supplemental Material - nn.2363-S1.pdf

Supplemental Material - nn.2363-S2.avi

Supplemental Material - nn.2363-S3.mov

Supplemental Material - nn.2363-S4.mov

Supplemental Material - nn.2363-S5.mov


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