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Quantifying the variability of scene-selective regions: Interindividual, interhemispheric, and sex differences


Kong,  Xiangzhen
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China;
Neurobiology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Zhen, Z., Kong, X., Huang, L., Yang, Z., Wang, X., Hao, X., et al. (2017). Quantifying the variability of scene-selective regions: Interindividual, interhemispheric, and sex differences. Human Brain Mapping, 38(4), 2260-2275. doi:10.1002/hbm.23519.

Scene-selective regions (SSRs), including the parahippocampal place area (PPA), retrosplenial cortex (RSC), and transverse occipital sulcus (TOS), are among the most widely characterized functional regions in the human brain. However, previous studies have mostly focused on the commonality within each SSR, providing little information on different aspects of their variability. In a large group of healthy adults (N = 202), we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate different aspects of topographical and functional variability within SSRs, including interindividual, interhemispheric, and sex differences. First, the PPA, RSC, and TOS were delineated manually for each individual. We then demonstrated that SSRs showed substantial interindividual variability in both spatial topography and functional selectivity. We further identified consistent interhemispheric differences in the spatial topography of all three SSRs, but distinct interhemispheric differences in scene selectivity. Moreover, we found that all three SSRs showed stronger scene selectivity in men than in women. In summary, our work thoroughly characterized the interindividual, interhemispheric, and sex variability of the SSRs and invites future work on the origin and functional significance of these variabilities. Additionally, we constructed the first probabilistic atlases for the SSRs, which provide the detailed anatomical reference for further investigations of the scene network.