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Quantifying interindividual variability and asymmetry of face-selective regions: A probabilistic functional atlas

Zhen, Z., Yang, Z., Huang, L., Kong, X., Wang, X., Dang, X., Huang, Y., Song, Y., & Liu, J. (2015). Quantifying interindividual variability and asymmetry of face-selective regions: A probabilistic functional atlas. NeuroImage, 113, 13-25. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.03.010.
Face-selective regions (FSRs) are among the most widely studied functional regions in the human brain. However, individual variability of the FSRs has not been well quantified. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to localize the FSRs and quantify their spatial and functional variabilities in 202 healthy adults. The occipital face area (OFA), posterior and anterior fusiform face areas (pFFA and aFFA), posterior continuation of the superior temporal sulcus (pcSTS), and posterior and anterior STS (pSTS and aSTS) were delineated for each individual with a semi-automated procedure. A probabilistic atlas was constructed to characterize their interindividual variability, revealing that the FSRs were highly variable in location and extent across subjects. The variability of FSRs was further quantified on both functional (i.e., face selectivity) and spatial (i.e., volume, location of peak activation, and anatomical location) features. Considerable interindividual variability and rightward asymmetry were found in all FSRs on these features. Taken together, our work presents the first effort to characterize comprehensively the variability of FSRs in a large sample of healthy subjects, and invites future work on the origin of the variability and its relation to individual differences in behavioral performance. Moreover, the probabilistic functional atlas will provide an adequate spatial reference for mapping the face network.
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