J Neurosci. 2014 Jul 30;34(31):10156-67 doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2914-13.2013.

Probabilistic and single-subject retinotopic maps reveal the topographic organization of face patches in the macaque cortex

Janssens T, Zhu Q, Popivanov ID, Vanduffel W.


Face perception is crucial to survival among social primates. It has been suggested that a group of extrastriate cortical regions responding more strongly to faces than to nonface objects is critical for face processing in primates. It is generally assumed that these regions are not retinotopically organized, as with human face-processing areas, showing foveal bias but lacking any organization with respect to polar angle. Despite many electrophysiological studies targeting monkey face patches, the retinotopic organization of these patches remains largely unclear. We have examined the relationship between cortical face patches and the topographic organization of extrastriate cortex using biologically relevant, phase-encoded retinotopic mapping stimuli in macaques. Single-subject fMRI results indicated a gradual shift from highly retinotopic to no topographic organization from posterior to anterior face patches in inferotemporal cortex. We also constructed a probabilistic retinotopic atlas of occipital and ventral extrastriate visual cortex. By comparing this probabilistic map to the locations of face patches at the group level, we showed that a previously identified posterior lateral temporal face patch (PL) is located within the posterior inferotemporal dorsal (PITd) retinotopic area. Furthermore, we identified a novel face patch posterior PL, which is located in retinotopically organized transitional area V4 (V4t). Previously published coordinates of human PITd coincide with the group-level occipital face area (OFA), according to a probabilistic map derived from a large population, implying a potential correspondence between monkey PL/PITd and human OFA/PITd. Furthermore, the monkey middle lateral temporal face patch (ML) shows consistent foveal biases but no obvious polar-angle structure. In contrast, middle fundus temporal (MF), anterior temporal and prefrontal monkey face patches lacked topographic organization.

PMID: 25080579