A stable topography of selectivity for unfamiliar shape classes in monkey inferior temporal cortex

TitleA stable topography of selectivity for unfamiliar shape classes in monkey inferior temporal cortex
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
Authorsde Beeck HOP, Deutsch JA, Vanduffel W, Kanwisher NG, DiCarlo JJ
JournalCerebral Cortex {(New} York, {N.Y.:} 1991)
KeywordsAnimals, Brain Mapping, Discrimination {(Psychology), Humans, Learning, Macaca mulatta, Male, Nerve Net, Neural Pathways, Recognition {(Psychology), } Form Perception, } Temporal Lobe

The inferior temporal {(IT)} cortex in monkeys plays a central role in visual object recognition and learning. Previous studies have observed patches in {IT} cortex with strong selectivity for highly familiar object classes (e.g., faces), but the principles behind this functional organization are largely unknown due to the many properties that distinguish different object classes. To unconfound shape from meaning and memory, we scanned monkeys with functional magnetic resonance imaging while they viewed classes of initially novel objects. Our data revealed a topography of selectivity for these novel object classes across {IT} cortex. We found that this selectivity topography was highly reproducible and remarkably stable across a 3-month interval during which monkeys were extensively trained to discriminate among exemplars within one of the object classes. Furthermore, this selectivity topography was largely unaffected by changes in behavioral task and object retinal position, both of which preserve shape. In contrast, it was strongly influenced by changes in object shape. The topography was partially related to, but not explained by, the previously described pattern of face selectivity. Together, these results suggest that {IT} cortex contains a large-scale map of shape that is largely independent of meaning, familiarity, and behavioral task.

Refereed DesignationRefereed

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