Low Frequency Phase-locking of Brain Signals Contribute to Efficient Face Recognition

Yifeng Wang, Xinju Huang, Xuezhi Yang, Qi Yang, Xinqi Wang, Georg Northoff, Yajing Pang, Chong Wang, Qian Cui, Huafu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Low frequency phase synchronization is an essential mechanism of information communication among brain regions. In the infra-slow frequency range (<0.1 Hz), inter-regional phase lag is of importance for brain function (e.g., anti-phase between the default mode network and task positive network). However, the role of phase lag in cognitive processing remains unclear. Based on the frequency tagging experimental paradigm and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technique, we investigated inter-regional phase lag and phase coherence using a face recognition task (n = 30, 15 males/15 females). Phase coherence within the face processing system was significantly increased during task state, highlighting the importance of regular inter-regional phase relationship for face recognition. Moreover, results showed decreased phase lag within the core and extended face areas (face processing system) and increased phase lag between the face processing system and frontoparietal network, indicating a reorganization of inter-regional relationships of the two systems. Inter-regional phase lag was modulated by the task at ascending and descending phases of the fMRI signal, suggesting a phase-dependent inter-regional relationship. Furthermore, phase lags between visual cortex and amygdala and between visual cortex and motor area were positively related to reaction time, indicating better task performance depends on both rapid emotional detection pathway and visual-motor pathway. Overall, inter-regional phase synchronization in the infra-slow frequency range is of important for effective information communication and cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-183
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • face recognition
  • fMRI
  • infra-slow
  • low frequency steady-state brain response
  • phase-locking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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