Voice recognition and the posterior cingulate: An fMRI study of prosopagnosia Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Voices, in addition to faces, enable person identification. Voice recognition has been shown to evoke a distributed network of brain regions that includes, in addition to the superior temporal sulcus (STS), the anterior temporal pole, fusiform face area (FFA), and posterior cingulate gyrus (pCG). Here we report an individual (MS) with acquired prosopagnosia who, despite bilateral damage to much of this network, demonstrates the ability to distinguish voices of several well-known acquaintances from voices of people that he has never heard before. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) revealed that, relative to speech-modulated noise, voices rated as familiar and unfamiliar by MS elicited enhanced haemodynamic activity in the left angular gyrus, left posterior STS, and posterior midline brain regions, including the retrosplenial cortex and the dorsal pCG. More interestingly, relative to noise and unfamiliar voices, the familiar voices elicited greater haemodynamic activity in the left angular gyrus and medial parietal regions including the dorsal pCG and precuneus. The findings are consistent with theories implicating the pCG in recognizing people who are personally familiar, and furthermore suggest that the pCG region of the voice identification network is able to make functional contributions to voice recognition even though other areas of the network, namely the anterior temporal poles, FFA, and the right parietal lobe, may be compromised.

publication date

  • March 2008