Investigating the Causal Role of rOFA in Holistic Detection of Mooney Faces and Objects: An fMRI-guided TMS Study

Silvia Bona, Zaira Cattaneo, Juha Silvanto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background The right occipital face area (rOFA) is known to be involved in face discrimination based on local featural information. Whether this region is also involved in global, holistic stimulus processing is not known. Objective We used fMRI-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate whether rOFA is causally implicated in stimulus detection based on holistic processing, by the use of Mooney stimuli. Methods Two studies were carried out: In Experiment 1, participants performed a detection task involving Mooney faces and Mooney objects; Mooney stimuli lack distinguishable local features and can be detected solely via holistic processing (i.e. at a global level) with top-down guidance from previously stored representations. Experiment 2 required participants to detect shapes which are recognized via bottom-up integration of local (collinear) Gabor elements and was performed to control for specificity of rOFA's implication in holistic detection. Results In Experiment 1, TMS over rOFA and rLO impaired detection of all stimulus categories, with no category-specific effect. In Experiment 2, shape detection was impaired when TMS was applied over rLO but not over rOFA. Conclusions Our results demonstrate that rOFA is causally implicated in the type of top-down holistic detection required by Mooney stimuli and that such role is not face-selective. In contrast, rOFA does not appear to play a causal role in detection of shapes based on bottom-up integration of local components, demonstrating that its involvement in processing non-face stimuli is specific for holistic processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-600
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Stimulation
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016

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Keywords

  • Face processing
  • fMRI-guided TMS
  • Holistic detection
  • Object processing
  • Occipital face area
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics

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