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Brain: Fusiform gyrus
Medial surface of left cerebral hemisphere. (Fusiform gyrus shown in orange)
Medial surface of right cerebral hemisphere. (Fusiform gyrus visible near bottom)
Latin gyrus fusiformis
Gray's subject #189 824
Part of
BrainInfo/UW hier-121
MeSH [1]

The fusiform gyrus is part of the temporal lobe and occipital lobe in Brodmann area 37. It is also known as the (discontinuous) occipitotemporal gyrus.[1] The fusiform gyrus is located between the inferior temporal gyrus and the parahippocampal gyrus.[2] The lateral and medial portions are separated by the shallow mid fusiform sulcus.[3][4]


There is still some dispute over the functionalities of this area, but there is relative consensus on the following:

  1. processing of color information
  2. face and body recognition (see Fusiform face area)
  3. word recognition (see Visual word form area)
  4. within-category identification

Some researchers think that the fusiform gyrus may be related to the disorder known as prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Research has also shown that the fusiform face area, the area within the fusiform gyrus, is heavily involved in face perception but only to any generic within-category identification that is shown to be one of the functions of the fusiform gyrus.[5] Abnormalities of the fusiform gyrus have also been linked to Williams syndrome.[6] Fusiform gyrus has also been involved in the perception of emotions in facial stimuli.[7] However, individuals with autism show little to no activation in the fusiform gyrus in response to seeing a human face [8]

Increased neurophysiological activity in the fusiform face area may produce hallucinations of faces, whether realistic or cartoonesque, as seen in Charles Bonnet syndrome, hypnagogic hallucinations, peduncular hallucinations, or drug-induced hallucinations.[9]

Recent research has seen activation of the fusiform gyrus during subjective grapheme-color perception in people with synaesthesia.[10]

After further research by scientists at MIT, it was concluded that both the left and right fusiform gyrus played different roles from one another, but were subsequently interlinked. The left fusiform gyrus plays the role of recognizing "face-like" features in objects that may or may not be actual faces. Whereas the right fusiform gyrus plays the role in determining whether or not the recognized "face-like" feature is, in fact, an actual face.[11]

See also


  1. Nature Neuroscience, vol7, 2004
  2. - Hjärnatlas
  3. Weiner & Grill-Spector, Sparsely-distributed organization of face and limb activations in human ventral temporal cortex.Neuroimage. 2010 Oct 1;52(4):1559-73. Epub 2010 May 10.
  4. Nasr el al. Scene-selective cortical regions in human and nonhuman primates. J Neurosci. 2011 Sep 28;31(39):13771-85.
  5. McCarthy, G et al. Face-specific processing in the fuman fusform gyrus.J. Cognitive Neuroscicence. 9, 605-610(1997).
  6. A. L. Reiss, et al. Preliminary Evidence Of Abnormal White Matter Related To The Fusiform Gyrus In Williams Syndrome: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Tractography Study.Genes, Brain & Behavior 11.1, 62-68(2012)
  7. (2010). Neural response to specific components of fearful faces in healthy and schizophrenic adults. NeuroImage 49 (1): 939–946.
  8. Carter, Rita. The Human Brain Book, 241.
  9. Jan Dirk Blom. A Dictionary of Hallucinations. Springer, 2010, p. 187. ISBN 978-1-4419-1222-0
  10. Imaging of connectivity in the synaesthetic brain « Neurophilosophy
  11. Trafton, A. "How does our brain know what is a face and what’s not?" MIT News

Additional images

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BBC lectures

In these lectures held for the BBC by neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran as part of the REITH-lecture series, - the lecturer frequently mentions the functionality of the FUSIFORM GYRUS:

  1. Phantoms in the BRAIN ,
  2. Synapses and the Self,
  3. The Artful BRAIN ,
  4. Purple numbers and sharp cheese,
  5. Neuroscience the new philosophy,
Telencephalon (cerebrum, cerebral cortex, cerebral hemispheres) - edit

primary sulci/fissures: medial longitudinal, lateral, central, parietoöccipital, calcarine, cingulate

frontal lobe: precentral gyrus (primary motor cortex, 4), precentral sulcus, superior frontal gyrus (6, 8), middle frontal gyrus (46), inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's area, 44-pars opercularis, 45-pars triangularis), prefrontal cortex (orbitofrontal cortex, 9, 10, 11, 12, 47)

parietal lobe: postcentral sulcus, postcentral gyrus (1, 2, 3, 43), superior parietal lobule (5), inferior parietal lobule (39-angular gyrus, 40), precuneus (7), intraparietal sulcus

occipital lobe: primary visual cortex (17), cuneus, lingual gyrus, 18, 19 (18 and 19 span whole lobe)

temporal lobe: transverse temporal gyrus (41-42-primary auditory cortex), superior temporal gyrus (38, 22-Wernicke's area), middle temporal gyrus (21), inferior temporal gyrus (20), fusiform gyrus (36, 37)

limbic lobe/fornicate gyrus: cingulate cortex/cingulate gyrus, anterior cingulate (24, 32, 33), posterior cingulate (23, 31),
isthmus (26, 29, 30), parahippocampal gyrus (piriform cortex, 25, 27, 35), entorhinal cortex (28, 34)

subcortical/insular cortex: rhinencephalon, olfactory bulb, corpus callosum, lateral ventricles, septum pellucidum, ependyma, internal capsule, corona radiata, external capsule

hippocampal formation: dentate gyrus, hippocampus, subiculum

basal ganglia: striatum (caudate nucleus, putamen), lentiform nucleus (putamen, globus pallidus), claustrum, extreme capsule, amygdala, nucleus accumbens

Some categorizations are approximations, and some Brodmann areas span gyri.

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