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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

September 2000, Vol. 12, No. 5, Pages 793-802
(doi: 10.1162/089892900562606)
© 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hemispheric Asymmetries for Whole-Based and Part-Based Face Processing in the Human Fusiform Gyrus
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Behavioral studies indicate a right hemisphere advantage for processing a face as a whole and a left hemisphere superiority for processing based on face features. The present PET study identifies the anatomical localization of these effects in well-defined regions of the middle fusiform gyri of both hemispheres. The right middle fusiform gyrus, previously described as a face-specific region, was found to be more activated when matching whole faces than face parts whereas this pattern of activity was reversed in the left homologous region. These lateralized differences appeared to be specific to faces since control objects processed either as wholes or parts did not induce any change of activity within these regions. This double dissociation between two modes of face processing brings new evidence regarding the lateralized localization of face individualization mechanisms in the human brain.