In primates, the presence of a face in a visual scene captures attention and rapidly directs the observer's gaze to the face, even when the face is not relevant to the task at hand. Here, we explored a neural circuit that might potentially play a causal role in this powerful behavior. In our previous research, two monkeys received microinfusions of muscimol, a GABAA-receptor agonist, or saline (as a control condition) in separate sessions into individual or pairs of four inferotemporal face patches (middle and anterior lateral and fundal), as identified by a preceding face localizer experiment. Then, using fMRI, we measured the impact of each inactivation condition on responses in the other face patches relative to the control condition. In this study, we used the same method and measured the impact of each inactivation condition on responses in the FEF and the lateral intraparietal area, two regions associated with attentional processing, while face and nonface object stimuli were viewed. Our results revealed potential relationships between inferotemporal face patches and these two attention-related regions: The inactivation of the middle lateral and anterior fundal face patches had a pronounced impact on FEF, whereas the inactivation of the middle and anterior lateral face patches might have a noticeable influence on lateral intraparietal area. Together, these initial exploratory findings document a circuit that potentially underlies the attentional capture of faces. Confirmation of the role of this circuit remains to be accomplished in the context of paradigm explicitly testing the attentional capture of faces.

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