Face Processing in the Chimpanzee Brain

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Parr, Lisa A.; Hecht, Erin; Barks, Sarah K.; Preuss, Todd M.; Votaw, John R.
Year of Publication: 2009
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Pagination: 50 - 53
Date Published: 01/2009
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 0960-9822
Keywords: SYSNEURO

SummaryHuman face recognition involves highly specialized cognitive and neural processes that enable the recognition of specific individuals [1–5]. Although comparative studies suggest that similar cognitive processes underlie face recognition in chimpanzees and humans ([6–8] and Supplemental Data), it remains unknown whether chimpanzees also show face-selective activity in ventral temporal cortex. This study is the first to examine regional cerebral glucose metabolism with 18F-flurodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in chimpanzees after they performed computerized tasks matching conspecifics' faces and nonface objects (Supplemental Data). A whole-brain analysis comparing these two tasks in five chimpanzees revealed significant face-selective activity in regions known to comprise the distributed cortical face-processing network in humans, including superior temporal sulcus and orbitofrontal cortex [9–11]. In order to identify regions that were exclusively active during one task, but not the other, we subtracted a resting-state condition from each task and identified the activity exclusive to each. This revealed numerous distinct patches of face-selective activity in the fusiform gyrus that were interspersed within a large expanse of object-selective cortex. This pattern suggests similar object form topography in the ventral temporal cortex of chimpanzees and humans, in which faces may represent a special class of visual stimulus.

Short Title: Current Biology
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