Neuroscience

How brains get the full picture

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Science  01 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6268, pp. 38-39
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6268.38-a

The brains of monkeys integrate face and body information to interpret social situations

PHOTO: © ANUP SHAH/MINDEN PICTURES/CORBIS

The visual system helps organisms make sense of their world. A network of brain areas called face patches helps monkeys identify other individuals and interpret their behavior. Fisher and Freiwald wanted to determine whether these regions only interpret face information or if they integrate body information, too. They scanned the brains of monkeys that were shown faces, bodies, faces on bodies, or faces on nonbody objects. Posterior face patches and adjacent body patches recognized faces and bodies, respectively. However, these networks could integrate face and body information to represent whole monkeys in the anterior face patches. Thus, the brain combines visual information from distinct but related objects to help organisms understand their social world.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112, 14717 (2015).

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