A face is more than a static collection of features. A shift in gaze, a tightening of the lips, a tilt of the head, these movements convey important clues to someone’s state of mind. Scientists know that two particularly social and visual creatures, humans and rhesus macaque monkeys, have a network of small areas within their brains that become active when shown still images of faces. But it hasn’t been clear if the same areas are responsible for processing changing expressions and other facial movements.
A network of face processing areas within the macaque brain (red and yellow, shown from the side) responds selectively to face motion over other kinds of motion, researchers discovered. Their work also revealed a new face patch within this network (circled), which they call the middle dorsal patch.
Credit:Laboratory of Neural Systems at The Rockefeller University/Current Biology