Category Selectivity for Face and Scene Recognition in Human Medial Parietal Cortex

Oscar Woolnough, Patrick S. Rollo, Kiefer J. Forseth, Cihan M. Kadipasaoglu, Arne D. Ekstrom, Nitin Tandon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The rapid recognition and memory of faces and scenes implies the engagement of category-specific computational hubs in the ventral visual stream with the distributed cortical memory network. To better understand how recognition and identification occur in humans, we performed direct intracranial recordings, in a large cohort of patients (n = 50), from the medial parietal cortex (MPC) and the medial temporal lobe (MTL), structures known to be engaged during face and scene identification. We discovered that the MPC is topologically tuned to face and scene recognition, with clusters in MPC performing scene recognition bilaterally and face recognition in right subparietal sulcus. The MTL displayed a selectivity gradient with anterior, entorhinal cortex showing face selectivity and posterior parahippocampal regions showing scene selectivity. In both MPC and MTL, stimulus-specific identifiable exemplars led to greater activity in these cortical patches. These two regions work in concert for recognition of faces and scenes. Feature selectivity and identity-sensitive activity in the two regions was coincident, and they exhibited theta-phase locking during face and scene recognition. These findings together provide clear evidence for a specific role of subregions in the MPC for the recognition of unique entities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2707-2715.e3
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 20 2020


  • default network
  • hippocampus
  • intracranial recording
  • memory
  • posterior cingulate
  • prosopagnosia
  • recognition
  • retrosplenial cortex
  • stereoelectroencephalography
  • subdural grids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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