Individual differences in PET activation of object perception and attention systems predict face matching accuracy

Gene E. Alexander, Marc J. Mentis, John D. Van Horn, Cheryl L. Grady, Karen F. Berman, Maura L. Furey, Pietro Pietrini, Stanley I. Rapoport, Mark B. Schapiro, James R. Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We sought to investigate how individual differences in the regional patterns of cerebral blood flow (rCBF) relate to task performance during the perceptual matching of faces. We analyzed rCBF data obtained by PET and H215O from nine young healthy, right-handed, adult males (mean age 29 ± 3 years) using a statistical model of regional covariance, the Sealed Subprofile Model (SSM). SSM analysis performed on a voxel-basis for scan substractions comparing face-matching and control tasks extracted two patterns whose subject expression in a multiple regression analysis was highly predictive of task accuracy (R2 = 0.87, p < 0.002). The pattern reflecting this linear combination was principally characterized by higher rCBF in regions of bilateral occipital and occipitotemporal cortex, right orbitofrontal cortex, left thalamus, basal ganglia, midbrain, and cerebellum with relatively lower rCBF in anterior cingulate, regions in bilateral prefrontal and temporal cortex, right thalamus, and right inferior parietal cortex. The results indicate that individual subject differences in face matching performance are specifically associated with the functional interaction of cortical and subcortical brain regions previously implicated in aspects of object perception and visual attentional processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1965-1971
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 23 1999


  • Cognition
  • Face matching
  • Mental effort
  • Object perception
  • PET
  • Principal component analysis
  • Scaled subprofile model
  • Task performance
  • Visual attention
  • rCBF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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