Multivoxel Patterns in Fusiform Face Area Differentiate Faces by Sex and Race

Citation:

Contreras, Juan Manuel, Mahzarin Banaji, and Jason P Mitchell. “Multivoxel Patterns in Fusiform Face Area Differentiate Faces by Sex and Race”. PLoS One 87 (2013). Web. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/y2r22buv
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Abstract:

Although prior research suggests that fusiform gyrus represents the sex and race of faces, it remains unclear whether fusiform face area (FFA)–the portion of fusiform gyrus that is functionally-defined by its preferential response to faces–contains such representations. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate whether FFA represents faces by sex and race. Participants were scanned while they categorized the sex and race of unfamiliar Black men, Black women, White men, and White women. Multivariate pattern analysis revealed that multivoxel patterns in FFA–but not other face-selective brain regions, other category-selective brain regions, or early visual cortex–differentiated faces by sex and race. Specifically, patterns of voxel-based responses were more similar between individuals of the same sex than between men and women, and between individuals of the same race than between Black and White individuals. By showing that FFA represents the sex and race of faces, this research contributes to our emerging understanding of how the human brain perceives individuals from two fundamental social categories.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 08/20/2014