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    Compelling evidence that our sensitivity to facial structure is conserved across the primate order comes from studies of the "Thatcher face illusion": humans and monkeys notice changes in the orientation of facial features (e.g., the eyes) only when faces are upright, not when faces are upside down. Although it is presumed that face perception in primates depends on face-selective neurons in the inferior temporal (IT) cortex, it is not known whether these neurons respond differentially to upright faces with inverted features. Using microelectrodes guided by functional MRI mapping, we recorded cell responses in three regions of monkey IT cortex. We report an interaction in the middle lateral face patch (ML) between the global orientation of a face and the local orientation of its eyes, a response profile consistent with the perception of the Thatcher illusion. This increased sensitivity to eye orientation in upright faces resisted changes in screen location and was not found among face-selective neurons in other areas of IT cortex, including neurons in another face-selective region, the anterior lateral face patch. We conclude that the Thatcher face illusion is correlated with a pattern of activity in the ML that encodes faces according to a flexible holistic template. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/359872-07$15.00/0.

    Citation

    Jessica Taubert, Goedele Van Belle, Wim Vanduffel, Bruno Rossion, Rufin Vogels. Neural Correlate of the Thatcher Face Illusion in a Monkey Face-Selective Patch. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2015 Jul 8;35(27):9872-8

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    PMID: 26156988

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