Poster E26, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Investigating the Familiar Face Processing Network with Multivoxel Pattern Analysis
Matteo Visconti di Oleggio Castello1, Yaroslav O. Halchenko1, J. Swaroop Guntupalli1, Jason D. Gors1, M. Ida Gobbini1,2; 1Dartmouth College, 2University of Bologna, Italy
The familiar face processing network consists of distributed areas that overlap with the Theory of Mind (ToM) network, suggesting automatic activation of person-knowledge information. We investigated this network using multivariate pattern analysis to distinguish between abstract familiarity information (regardless of identity) and identity-specific information. We scanned 33 subjects using fMRI while they performed an oddball detection task looking at personally familiar and stranger faces. We analyzed the data using a searchlight approach with SVM and permutation testing. We could decode familiarity information (using a leave-two-identities-out cross-validation scheme, thus controlling for identity information) in areas such as FFA, STS, Precuneus, and IFG. We found significant decoding in ToM areas such as TPJ and mPFC, confirming the involvement of these areas even during implicit processing of familiar face information (oddball task). Surprisingly, we found familiarity decoding in V1 even when controlling for identity information, suggesting that feedback connections might convey familiarity information. We found significant identity decoding in vATL and IFG, highlighting their role in face perception. We also investigated the relationship of representations in these ROIs using cross-validated RSA. The first dimension of a two-dimensional MDS solution revealed the known hierarchical separation between early and higher order visual areas involved in face processing; the second dimension revealed a distinction between the Precuneus and the other areas of the extended system. This experiment confirmed the involvement of ToM areas during implicit familiar face processing using MVPA, and of the IFG and vATL in processing the visual appearance of faces.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Person perception