The face-processing network is resilient to focal resection of human visual cortex

Kevin S. Weiner, Jacques Jonas, Jesse Gomez, Louis Maillard, Hélène Brissart, Gabriela Hossu, Corentin Jacques, David Loftus, Sophie Colnat-Coulbois, Anthony Stigliani, Michael A. Barnett, Kalanit Grill-Spector, Bruno Rossion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Human face perception requires a network of brain regions distributed throughout the occipital and temporal lobes with a right hemisphere advantage. Present theories consider this network as either a processing hierarchy beginning with the inferior occipital gyrus (occipital face area; IOG-faces/OFA) or a multiple-route network with nonhierarchical components. The former predicts that removing IOG-faces/OFA will detrimentally affect downstream stages, whereas the latter does not. We tested this prediction in a human patient (Patient S.P.) requiring removal of the right inferior occipital cortex, including IOG-faces/OFA. We acquired multiple fMRI measurements in Patient S.P. before and after a preplanned surgery and multiple measurements in typical controls, enabling both within-subject/ across-session comparisons (Patient S.P. before resection vs Patient S.P. after resection) and between-subject/across-session comparisons (Patient S.P. vs controls).Wefound that the spatial topology and selectivity of downstream ipsilateral face-selective regions were stable 1 and 8 month(s) after surgery. Additionally, the reliability of distributed patterns of face selectivity in Patient S.P. before versus after resection was not different from across-session reliability in controls. Nevertheless, postoperatively, representations of visual space were typical in dorsal face-selective regions but atypical in ventral face-selective regions and V1 of the resected hemisphere. Diffusion weighted imaging in Patient S.P. and controls identifies white matter tracts connecting retinotopic areas to downstream face-selective regions, which may contribute to the stable and plastic features of the face network in Patient S.P. after surgery. Together, our results support a multiple-route network of face processing with nonhierarchical components and shed light on stable and plastic features of high-level visual cortex following focal brain damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8425-8440
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 10 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Brain lesion
  • Cortical plasticity
  • Face perception
  • Fusiform face area
  • Hierarchical networks
  • Occipital face area


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