Passive and active recognition of one's own face

Motoaki Sugiura, Ryuta Kawashima, Katsuki Nakamura, Ken Okada, Takashi Kato, Akinori Nakamura, Kentaro Hatano, Kengo Itoh, Shozo Kojima, Hiroshi Fukuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Facial identity recognition has been studied mainly with explicit discrimination requirement and faces of social figures in previous human brain imaging studies. We performed a PET activation study with normal volunteers in facial identity recognition tasks using the subject's own face as visual stimulus. Three tasks were designed so that the activation of the visual representation of the face and the effect of sustained attention to the representation could be separately examined: a control-face recognition task (C), a passive own-face recognition task (no explicit discrimination was required) (P), and an active own-face recognition task (explicit discrimination was required) (A). Increased skin conductance responses during recognition of own face were seen in both task P and task A, suggesting the occurrence of psychophysiological changes during recognition of one's own face. The left fusiform gyrus, the right supramarginal gyrus, the left putamen, and the right hypothalamus were activated in tasks P and A compared with task C. The left fusiform gyrus and the right supramarginal gyrus are considered to be involved in the representation of one's own face. The activation in the right supramarginal gyrus may be associated with the representation of one's own face as a part of one's own body. The prefrontal cortices, the right anterior cingulate, the right presupplementary motor area, and the left insula were specifically activated during task A compared with tasks C and P, indicating that these regions may be involved in the sustained attention to the representation of one's own face.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan


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