Spontaneous perceptual facial distortions correlate with ventral occipitotemporal activity

Kirsten A. Dalrymple, Jodie Davies-Thompson, Ipek Oruc, Todd C. Handy, Jason J.S. Barton, Brad Duchaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Prosopometamorphopsia is a disorder of face perception in which faces appear distorted to the perceiver. The neural basis of prosopometamorphopsia is unclear, but may involve abnormal activity in face-selective areas in the ventral occipito-temporal pathway. Here we present the case of AS, a 44-year-old woman who reports persistent perceptual distortions of faces with no known cause. AS was presented with facial images and rated the magnitude of her distortions while activity in her core face areas and other areas in the ventral visual pathway was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The magnitude of her distortions was positively correlated with signal changes in the right occipital face area (OFA) and right fusiform face area (FFA), as well as right V1-V3, and right lateral occipital cortex (LOC). There was also a trend for a significant correlation with signal in the left OFA and right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), but not in the right or left superior temporal sulcus (STS). These results suggest that AS' prosopometamorphopsia reflects anomalous activity in face-processing network, particularly in the ventral occipitotemporal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) grant to BD (grant number RES-062-23-2426 ); a Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) operating grant (grant number MOP-102567 ), Canada Research Chair (grant number 950-228984 ), and a Marianne Koerner Chair in Brain Diseases grant to JB ; a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant (grant number RGPIN 402654-11 ) to IO; and an NSERC Discovery Grant (grant number RGPIN-2014-04495 ) to TCH. We thank AS for her time and effort, and for her sincere interest in contributing our scientific pursuits. We also thank Tim Andrews and Andy Young for sharing with us their invaluable thoughts and ideas on the fMRI design and discussion of previous patients.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • FMRI
  • Face perception
  • Prosopometamorphopsia
  • Visual distortions


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