The neural sources of N170: Understanding timing of activation in face-selective areas.
Gao C., Conte S., Richards JE., Xie W., Hanayik T.
The N170 ERP component has been widely identified as a face-sensitive neural marker. Despite extensive investigations conducted to examine the neural sources of N170, there are two issues in prior literature: (a) few studies used individualized anatomy as head model for the cortical source analysis of the N170, and (b) the relationship between the N170 and face-selective regions from fMRI studies is unclear. Here, we addressed these questions by presenting pictures of faces and houses to the same group of healthy adults and recording structural MRI, fMRI, and high-density ERPs in separate sessions. Source analysis based on the participant's anatomy showed that the middle and posterior fusiform gyri were the primary neural sources for the face-sensitive aspects of the N170. Source analysis based on regions of interest from the fMRI revealed that the fMRI-defined fusiform face area was the major contributor to the N170. The current study suggests that the fusiform gyrus is a major neural contributor to the N170 ERP component and provides further insights about the spatiotemporal characteristics of face processing.