Distributed neural systems for face perception

In Andy Calder, Gillian Rhodes, Mark Johnson & Jim Haxby (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Face Perception. Oxford University Press. pp. 93--110 (2011)
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Abstract

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.

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