A Distributed Model of Face and Body Integration


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Separated face- and body-responsive brain networks have been identified that show strong responses when observers view faces and bodies. It has been proposed that face and body processing may be initially separated in the lateral occipitotemporal cortex and then combined into a whole person representation in the anterior temporal cortex, or elsewhere in the brain. However, in contrast to this proposal, our recent study identified a common coding of face and body orientation (ie, facing direction) in the lateral occipitotemporal cortex, demonstrating an integration of face and body information at an early stage of face and body processing. These results, in combination with findings that show integration of face and body identity in the lateral occipitotemporal, parahippocampal and superior parietal cortex, and face and body emotional expression in the posterior superior temporal sulcus and medial prefrontal cortex, suggest that face and body integration may be more distributed than previously considered. I propose a new model of face and body integration, where areas at the intersection of face- and body-responsive regions play a role in integrating specific properties of faces and bodies, and distributed regions across the brain contribute to high-level, abstract integration of shared face and body properties.
Face, body, occipitotemporal cortex, orientation, viewpoint, identity, expression
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