A quintessential example of hemispheric specialization in the human brain is that the right hemisphere is specialized for face perception. However, because the visual system is organized contralaterally, what happens when faces appear in the right visual field and are projected to the nonspecialized left hemisphere? We used divided field presentation and fMRI adaptation to test the hypothesis that the left hemisphere can recognize faces, but only with support from the right hemisphere. Consistent with this hypothesis, facial identity adaptation was observed in the left fusiform face area when a face had previously been processed by the right hemisphere, but not when it had only been processed by the left hemisphere. These results imply that facial identity information is transferred from the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere, and that the left hemisphere can represent facial identity but is less efficient at extracting this information by itself.

You do not currently have access to this content.