Neural microgenesis of personally familiar face recognition

Meike Ramon, Luca Vizioli, Joan Liu-Shuang, Bruno Rossion

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Despite a wealth of information provided by neuroimaging research, the neural basis of familiar face recognition in humans remains largely unknown. Here, we isolated the discriminative neural responses to unfamiliar and familiar faces by slowly increasing visual information (i.e., high-spatial frequencies) to progressively reveal faces of unfamiliar or personally familiar individuals. Activation in ventral occipitotemporal face-preferential regions increased with visual information, independently of long-term face familiarity. In contrast, medial temporal lobe structures (perirhinal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus) and anterior inferior temporal cortex responded abruptly when sufficient information for familiar face recognition was accumulated. These observations suggest that following detailed analysis of individual faces in core posterior areas of the face-processing network, familiar face recognition emerges categorically in medial temporal and anterior regions of the extended cortical face network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E4835-E4844
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Amygdala
  • Coarse-to-fine
  • Fusiform face area
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Personally familiar face recognition


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