Investigating the features of the M170 in congenital prosopagnosia

Davide Rivolta*, Romina Palermo, Laura Schmalzl, Mark A. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Face perception generates specific neural activity as early as 170 ms post-stimulus onset, termed the M170 when measured with Magnetoencephalography (MEG). We examined the M170 in six people with congenital prosopagnosia (CP) and 11 typical controls. Previous research indicates that there are two neural generators for the M170 (one within the right lateral occipital area - rLO and one within the right fusiform gyrus - rFG), and in the current study we explored whether these sources reflect the processing of different types of information. Individuals with CP showed face-selective M170 responses within the rLO and right rFG, which did not differ in magnitude to those of the controls. To examine possible links between neural activity and behavior we correlated the CPs' MEG activity generated within rLO and rFG with their face perception skills. The rLO-M170 correlated with holistic/configural face processing, whereas the rFG-M170 correlated with featural processing. Hence, the results of our study demonstrate that individuals with CP can show an M170 that is within the normal range, and that the M170 in the rLO and rFG are involved in different aspects of face processing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number45
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • congenital prosopagnosia
    • face processing
    • M170
    • MEG
    • scene processing


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