The bottom-up and top-down processing of faces in the human occipitotemporal cortex.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Although face processing has been studied extensively, the dynamics of how face-selective cortical areas are engaged remains unclear. Here, we uncovered the timing of activation in core face-selective regions using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Magnetoencephalography in humans. Processing of normal faces started in the posterior occipital areas and then proceeded to anterior regions. This bottom-up processing sequence was also observed even when internal facial features were misarranged. However, processing of two-tone Mooney faces lacking explicit prototypical facial features engaged top-down projection from the right posterior fusiform face area to right occipital face area. Further, face-specific responses elicited by contextual cues alone emerged simultaneously in the right ventral face-selective regions, suggesting parallel contextual facilitation. Together, our findings chronicle the precise timing of bottom-up, top-down, as well as context-facilitated processing sequences in the occipital-temporal face network, highlighting the importance of the top-down operations especially when faced with incomplete or ambiguous input.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fan, X; Wang, F; Shao, H; Zhang, P; He, S

Published Date

  • January 14, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 /

PubMed ID

  • 31934855

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7000216

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2050-084X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.7554/eLife.48764


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England