The relationship between repetition suppression and face perception
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Repetition of identical face stimuli leads to fMRI response attenuation (fMRI adaptation, fMRIa) in the core face-selective occipito-temporal visual cortical network, involving the bilateral fusiform face area (FFA) and the occipital face area (OFA). However, the functional relevance of fMRIa observed in these regions is unclear as of today. Therefore, here we aimed at investigating the relationship between fMRIa and face perception ability by measuring in the same human participants both the repetition-induced reduction of fMRI responses and identity discrimination performance outside the scanner for upright and inverted face stimuli. In the correlation analysis, the behavioral and fMRI results for the inverted faces were used as covariates to control for the individual differences in overall object perception ability and basic visual feature adaptation processes, respectively. The results revealed a significant positive correlation between the participants’ identity discrimination performance and the strength of fMRIa in the core face processing network, but not in the extrastriate body area (EBA). Furthermore, we found a strong correlation of the fMRIa between OFA and FFA and also between OFA and EBA, but not between FFA and EBA. These findings suggest that there is a face-selective component of the repetition-induced reduction of fMRI responses within the core face processing network, which reflects functionally relevant adaptation processes involved in face identity perception.
KeywordsRepetition suppression fMRI adaptation Face discrimination FFA OFA
We thank Balázs Knakker, Viktor Gál, and Béla Weiss for their help and advice during data analysis and also for their comments on the manuscript. We also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.
P.H., G.K., and Z.V. designed research; P.H., G.K., and M.G. performed research; P.H., M.G., G.K., and Z.V. analyzed data; P.H., M.G., G.K., and Z.V. wrote the paper.
Compliance with ethical standards
This work was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Grant (KO 3918/1–2; 2–2).
Conflict of interest
Petra Hermann, Mareike Grotheer, Gyula Kovács, and Zoltán Vidnyánszky declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study. Written informed consent was obtained from persons depicted in the photographs.
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