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Morphing Marilyn into Maggie dissociates physical and identity face-representations in the brain
Rotsthein, P., HENSON, R.N.A., Treves, A., Driver, J. & Dolan, R.J.
Nature Neuroscience, 8(1), 107-113
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How the brain represents different aspects of faces remains controversial. We presented subjects with stimuli drawn from morph-continua between pairs of famous faces. In paired presentations, a second face could be identical to the first; share perceived identity but differ physically (30% along the morph continuum); or differ physically by the same distance along the continuum (30%) but in the other direction. Behaviorally, face-pairs were more likely to be classified as different in the latter instance, with this effect more pronounced for subjects more familiar with the faces. In fMRI, inferior occipital gyri showed sensitivity to physical- rather than identity-changes, contrasting with right fusiform gyrus sensitivity to identity- rather than physical-changes. Bilateral anterior temporal regions showed sensitivity to identity-change that varied with subjectsí pre-experimental familiarity with the faces. These findings provide new neurobiological support for a hierarchical model of face perception.