Distributed Neural Systems for Face Perception

James V. Haxby and M. Ida Gobbini

in Oxford Handbook of Face Perception

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559053
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Distributed Neural Systems for Face Perception

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Face perception plays a central role in social communication and is, arguably, one of the most sophisticated visual perceptual skills in humans. The organization of neural systems for face perception has stimulated intense debate. This article presents an updated model of distributed human neural systems for face perception. It opens up with a discussion of the Core System for visual analysis of faces with an emphasis on the distinction between perception of invariant features for identity recognition and changeable features for recognition of facial gestures such as expression and eye gaze. The study analyses the roles of systems for the representation of emotion, for person knowledge, and for action understanding in face recognition and perception of expression and gaze. It presents systems that are of particular relevance for social communication and that are illustrative of how distributed systems are engaged by face perception. It concludes with a discussion of modularity and distributed processing in neural representation.

Keywords: face perception; neural systems; social communication; eye gaze; visual analysis

Article.  8630 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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