Individual face and house-related eye movement patterns distinctively activate FFA and PPA in the absence of faces and houses

Lihui Wang, Florian Baumgartner, Falko R. Kaule, Michael Hanke, and Stefan Pollmann

Mar 08, 2019

Received Date: 11th February 19

We investigated if the fusiform face area (FFA) and the parahippocampal place area (PPA) contain a representation of fixation sequences that are typically used when looking at faces or houses. For this purpose, we instructed observers to follow a dot presented on a uniform background. The dot's movements represented gaze paths acquired separately while observers were looking at face or house pictures. Even when gaze dispersion differences were controlled, face- and house-associated gaze patterns could be discriminated by multivariate pattern analysis in the FFA and PPA. The discrimination of face- and house-associated gaze patterns in FFA and PPA was more sensitive for the current observer’s own gazes than for another observer’s gaze. Moreover, the discrimination of the observer’s own gaze patterns was specific to FFA and PPA, but was not observed in early visual areas (V1 – V4) or superior parietal lobule and frontal eye fields. These findings indicate a link between perception and action - the complex gaze patterns that are used to explore faces and houses - in the FFA and PPA.

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Nature Communications

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