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New Findings on Face Completion Published in Journal of Neuroscience

Peking University, Dec.14, 2010: On Dec. 8, 2010,The Journal of Neuroscience published a thesis entitled "Cortical Dynamics Underlying Face Completion in Human Visual System" of a research team led by Fang Fang who is a professor of psychology at Peking University.

 

The research project was co-finished by Chen Juan, a postdoctoral student from PKU Psychology Department and Yang Hua, an undergraduate from Yuanpei College under the guidance of Prof. Fang. Dr. Zhou Tiangang from Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences also participated in the research which was sponsored by National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Science and Peking University.

 

Face completion has always been an important and hot issue in Cognitive Neuroscience. Previous researches focused on the sensational process of the whole face. However, in natural images, visual objects are typically occluded by other objects. A remarkable ability of our visual system is to complete occluded objects effortlessly and see whole, uninterrupted objects. How object completion is implemented in the visual system is still largely unknown.

 

Prof. Fang's team revealed the secret by combining psychophysics with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The study used a creative experimental paradigm of fMRI to investigate the temporal evolvement of face completion at different levels of the visual processing hierarchy. The findings of the study suggest that face completion consists of two synergetic phases: early suppression in lower visual areas and late enhancement in higher visual areas. These findings are significant not only in deepening the understanding of the neural mechanism but also in the innovative approach on fMRI.   

 

Translated by: Li Nuoya
Edited by: Chen Miaojuan
Source: PKU News (Chinese)