External facial features modify the representation of internal facial features in the fusiform face area

Vadim Axelrod, Galit Yovel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Most studies of face identity have excluded external facial features by either removing them or covering them with a hat. However, external facial features may modify the representation of internal facial features. Here we assessed whether the representation of face identity in the fusiform face area (FFA), which has been primarily studied for internal facial features, is modified by differences in external facial features. We presented faces in which external and internal facial features were manipulated independently. Our findings show that the FFA was sensitive to differences in external facial features, but this effect was significantly larger when the external and internal features were aligned than misaligned. We conclude that the FFA generates a holistic representation in which the internal and the external facial features are integrated. These results indicate that to better understand real-life face recognition both external and internal features should be included.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-725
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroImage
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2010

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