Facial Recognition: The Future of fMRI?

A recent study by a Stanford neurologist, Josef Parvizi, has provided conclusive evidence that the fusiform gyrus of the brain is causally linked to facial recognition.  Although this is not the first study linking this portion of the brain to facial perception, it is the first study to establish a causal connection.  The study relied on electrode simulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to establish the causal link.  Fascinatingly, the fusiform gyrus seems to be specifically associated with facial recognition and does not appear to be associated with recognition of other body features.  This new scientific data provides immense possibilities for further improvements of fMRI technology for use in legal testimony.  For instance, fMRI scientists should evaluate whether there are measurable differences in the fusiform gyrus activity when a patient is shown images of faces that they know versus faces that are not familiar.  If a recognizable pattern of brain activity could be identified fMRI technology could prove an invaluable tool for filtering out false identifications.



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