Low-frequency oscillations employ a general coding of the spatio-temporal similarity of dynamic faces.
Furl N., Lohse M., Pizzorni-Ferrarese F.
Brain networks use neural oscillations as information transfer mechanisms. Although the face perception network in occipitotemporal cortex is well-studied, contributions of oscillations to face representation remain an open question. We tested for links between oscillatory responses that encode facial dimensions and the theoretical proposal that faces are encoded in similarity-based "face spaces". We quantified similarity-based encoding of dynamic faces in magnetoencephalographic sensor-level oscillatory power for identity, expression, physical and perceptual similarity of facial form and motion. Our data show that evoked responses manifest physical and perceptual form similarity that distinguishes facial identities. Low-frequency induced oscillations (< 20Hz) manifested more general similarity structure, which was not limited to identity, and spanned physical and perceived form and motion. A supplementary fMRI-constrained source reconstruction implicated fusiform gyrus and V5 in this similarity-based representation. These findings introduce a potential link between "face space" encoding and oscillatory network communication, which generates new hypotheses about the potential oscillation-mediated mechanisms that might encode facial dimensions.