Primates use gaze cues to follow peer gaze to an object of joint attention. Gaze following of monkeys is largely determined by head or face orientation. We used fMRI in rhesus monkeys to identify brain regions underlying head gaze following and to assess their relationship to the 'face patch' system, the latter being the likely source of information on face orientation. We trained monkeys to locate targets by either following head gaze or using a learned association of face identity with the same targets. Head gaze following activated a distinct region in the posterior STS, close to-albeit not overlapping with-the medial face patch delineated by passive viewing of faces. This 'gaze following patch' may be the substrate of the geometrical calculations needed to translate information on head orientation from the face patches into precise shifts of attention, taking the spatial relationship of the two interacting agents into account.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to the guidelines of the German law regulating the usage of experimental animals and the protocols approved by the local institution in charge of experiments using animals (Regierungspraesidium Tuebingen, Abteilung Tierschutz, permit-number N1/08). All surgery was performed under combination anesthesia involving isoflurane and remifentanyl and every effort was made to minimize discomfort and suffering.
- Ranulfo Romo, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
© 2014, Marciniak et al.
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