November 30, 2020

Differential spatial processing in ventral and lateral face-selective regions is scaffolded by structural connections

Face-processing occurs across ventral and lateral visual streams, which are involved in static and dynamic face perception, respectively. However, the nature of spatial computations across streams is unknown. Using functional MRI and novel population receptive field (pRF) mapping, we measured pRFs in face-selective regions. Results reveal that spatial computations by pRFs in ventral face-selective regions are concentrated around the center of gaze (fovea), but spatial computations in lateral face-selective regions extend peripherally. Diffusion MRI reveals that these differences are mirrored by a preponderance of white matter connections between ventral face-selective regions and foveal early visual cortex (EVC), while connections with lateral regions are distributed more uniformly across EVC eccentricities. These findings suggest a rethinking of spatial computations in face-selective regions showing that they vary across ventral and lateral streams, and further propose that spatial processing in high-level regions is scaffolded by the fine-grain pattern of white matter connections from EVC.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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