Brain regions sensitive to facial color processing

June 25, 2014, Toyohashi University of Technology
Results of fMRI scanning human brains. Only left FFA is sensitive to facial color differences.

Toyohashi Tech researchers in cooperation with researchers at National Institute for Physiological Sciences have found brain regions sensitive to natural-colored faces rather than bluish-colored face. These regions may contribute to improve understanding others' affection and health from faces.

Facial color provides important clues to recognize a person's emotion and health, and is therefore facial color contains important information for social communication.

Previous research published by Tetsuto Minami and colleagues at the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi Tech based on electroencephalography (EEG) has shown that the face-sensitive event related potential (ERP) component (N170) is modulated by facial color, which suggests that face color is important for face detection (Minami et al. Neuroscience, 176, 265-73, (2011)). Moreover, the sensitivity of N170 was found at the left occipito-temporal site (Nakajima et al., Neuropsychologia, 50, 2499-505, (2012)).

However, it is not clear which region of the brain is involved in facial color processing because spatial resolution of EEG is not sufficient.

Here, Tetsuto Minami and colleagues at Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi Tech and at National Institute for Physiological Sciences, report on the sensitive to color information for face processing.

The present study aimed to identify the brain regions related to facial color processing by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The researchers measured the brain activity from 25 participants during the presentation of natural- and bluish-colored and other scrambled images. Face-selective regions of interest (ROIs) were identified separately for each subject and hemisphere of the brain.

As a result, the bilateral fusiform face area (FFA) and occipital face area (OFA) were identified as brain areas that were activated more to natural-colored faces than to natural-colored scrambled images. The ROI analysis showed that the left FFA was sensitive to facial color, whereas the right FFA was not. Furthermore, the right and left OFA were insensitive to facial color. Thus, we have a special neural processing for facial color information at the left fusiform area of the cortex.

Explore further: What's in a face? Researchers find patterns of neural activity in brain region that plays role in recognizing traits

More information: Kae Nakajima et al. "Facial color processing in the face-selective regions: An fMRI study." Human Brain Mapping Published online ahead of print, 23 Apr 2014). DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22535

Related Stories

What's in a face? Researchers find patterns of neural activity in brain region that plays role in recognizing traits

October 14, 2013
When you meet people for the first time, what's the first thing you think you notice? Is it their hair color, or eye color? Maybe it's whether they're wearing a suit or a T-shirt and jeans, or whether they have a firm handshake.

Study results indicate brain structures outside the hippocampus may support face recognition

June 24, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A team of neuroscientists and psychologists with members from several universities in the U.S. has found that people with damage to their hippocampus are still able to recognize faces, even when they cannot ...

How the brain pays attention (w/ video)

April 10, 2014
Picking out a face in the crowd is a complicated task: Your brain has to retrieve the memory of the face you're seeking, then hold it in place while scanning the crowd, paying special attention to finding a match.

Researchers uncover how the brain processes faces

May 31, 2011
Each time you see a person that you know, your brain rapidly and seemingly effortlessly recognizes that person by his or her face.

Difficulty in recognizing faces in autism linked to performance in a group of neurons

March 18, 2013
Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) have discovered a brain anomaly that explains why some people diagnosed with autism cannot easily recognize faces—a deficit linked to the impairments in social ...

Recommended for you

Cognitive training helps regain a younger-working brain

January 23, 2018
Relentless cognitive decline as we age is worrisome, and it is widely thought to be an unavoidable negative aspect of normal aging. Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, however, ...

Lifting the veil on 'valence,' brain study reveals roots of desire, dislike

January 23, 2018
The amygdala is a tiny hub of emotions where in 2016 a team led by MIT neuroscientist Kay Tye found specific populations of neurons that assign good or bad feelings, or "valence," to experience. Learning to associate pleasure ...

Your brain responses to music reveal if you're a musician or not

January 23, 2018
How your brain responds to music listening can reveal whether you have received musical training, according to new Nordic research conducted in Finland (University of Jyväskylä and AMI Center) and Denmark (Aarhus University).

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.