Voice recognition was linked to face recognition

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists asked volunteers to recognize the voices of former US presidents by monitoring their brain activity. It turned out that this task involves the same areas of the temporal lobe as face recognition.

The brain structures responsible for the recognition of visual and sound signals are being actively studied, but they are usually considered as separate, independent systems. At the same time, some evidence points to a close relationship between them.

“We know from past research that people recognize a familiar voice faster and more accurately if they can associate it with a familiar face. But until now, we had no explanation for this, ” says Taylor Abel of the University of Pittsburgh.

Experiments performed by Abel and his colleagues demonstrated a direct neurophysiological link between voice and face recognition. It turned out that the same area of ​​the brain is used for both tasks.

Scientists conducted experiments with five patients suffering from severe epilepsy. Such patients are often operated on, implanting electrodes in the brain to stop abnormal neuronal activity and reduce epileptic seizures.

Abel et al took this opportunity to investigate how the brain works to recognize voices and faces.

The subjects were shown photographs of well-known people – former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and also played audio recordings of their speeches, offering to identify the name.

The work showed that when performing both tasks, the same area of ​​the brain was activated – the fusiform gyrus, which stretches from the temporal to the occipital lobes.

The fusiform gyrus is known as an area involved in various recognition tasks, including color, body parts, and faces. Perhaps that is why it continues to grow even in adults.

Now it has become clear that this gyrus is also used in voice recognition, although its activity is slightly slower and weaker than in the processing of faces.

“This is important because it shows that when we recognize people, visual and auditory areas interact closely with each other early in the recognition process,” added Taylor Abel.

“In addition to better understanding these mechanisms, our work explains the failures that underlie some disorders, including dementia.”

Remember, the inability to recognize faces is called prosopagnosia. By some estimates, it affects more than two percent of people and can sometimes be associated with problems retrieving such information from memory.

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