Cortical mechanisms of person representation: Recognition of famous and personally familiar names

Motoaki Sugiura, Yuko Sassa, Jobu Watanabe, Yuko Akitsuki, Yasuhiro Maeda, Yoshihiko Matsue, Hiroshi Fukuda, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Personally familiar people are likely to be represented more richly in episodic, emotional, and behavioral contexts than famous people, who are usually represented predominantly in semantic context. To reveal cortical mechanisms supporting this differential person representation, we compared cortical activation during name recognition tasks between personally familiar and famous names, using an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Normal subjects performed familiar- or unfamiliar-name detection tasks during visual presentation of personally familiar (Personal), famous (Famous), and unfamiliar (Unfamiliar) names. The bilateral temporal poles and anterolateral temporal cortices, as well as the left temporoparietal junction, were activated in the contrasts Personal-Unfamiliar and Famous-Unfamiliar to a similar extent. The bilateral occipitotemporoparietal junctions, precuneus, and posterior cingulate cortex showed activation in the contrasts Personal-Unfamiliar and Personal-Famous. Together with previous findings, differential activation in the occipitotemporoparietal junction, precuneus, and posterior cingulate cortex between personally familiar and famous names is considered to reflect differential person representation. The similar extent of activation for personally familiar and famous names in the temporal pole and anterolateral temporal cortex is consistent with the associative role of the anterior temporal cortex in person identification, which has been conceptualized as a person identity node in many models of person identification. The left temporoparietal junction was considered to process familiar written names. The results illustrated the neural correlates of the person representation as a network of discrete regions in the bilateral posterior cortices, with the anterior temporal cortices having a unique associative role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-860
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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