Activation reduction in anterior temporal cortices during repeated recognition of faces of personal acquaintances

M. Sugiura, R. Kawashima, K. Nakamura, N. Sato, A. Nakamura, T. Kato, K. Hatano, T. Schormann, K. Zilles, K. Sato, K. Ito, H. Fukuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Repeated recognition of the face of a familiar individual is known to show semantic repetition priming effect. In this study, normal subjects were repeatedly presented faces of their colleagues, and the effect of repetition on the regional cerebral blood flow change was measured using positron emission tomography. They repeated a set of three tasks: the familiar-face detection (F) task, the facial direction discrimination (D) task, and the perceptual control (C) task. During five repetitions of the F task, familiar faces were presented six times from different views in a pseudorandom order. Activation reduction through the repetition of the F tasks was observed in the bilateral anterior (anterolateral to the polar region) temporal cortices which are suggested to be involved in the access to the long-term memory concerning people. The bilateral amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the medial frontal cortices, were constantly activated during the F tasks, and considered to be associated with the behavioral significance of the presented familiar faces. Constant activation was also observed in the bilateral occipitotemporal regions and fusiform gyri and the right medial temporal regions during perception of the faces, and in the left medial temporal regions during the facial familiarity detection task, which are consistent with the results of previous functional brain imaging studies. The results have provided further information about the functional segregation of the anterior temporal regions in face recognition and long-term memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-890
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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