Modular community structure of the face network supports face recognition

Gidon Levakov, Olaf Sporns, Galia Avidan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Face recognition is dependent on computations conducted in specialized brain regions and the communication among them, giving rise to the face-processing network. We examined whether modularity of this network may underlie the vast individual differences found in human face recognition abilities. Modular networks, characterized by strong within and weaker between-network connectivity, were previously suggested to promote efficacy and reduce interference among cognitive systems and also correlated with better cognitive abilities. The study was conducted in a large sample (n = 409) with diffusion-weighted imaging, resting-state fMRI, and a behavioral face recognition measure. We defined a network of face-selective regions and derived a novel measure of communication along with structural and functional connectivity among them. The modularity of this network was positively correlated with recognition abilities even when controlled for age. Furthermore, the results were specific to the face network when compared with the place network or to spatially permuted null networks. The relation to behavior was also preserved at the individual-edge level such that a larger correlation to behavior was found within hemispheres and particularly within the right hemisphere. This study provides the first evidence of modularity-behavior relationships in the domain of face processing and more generally in visual perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3945-3958
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number18
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2022


  • connectome
  • face perception
  • face recognition
  • functional connectivity
  • structural connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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