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Published May 2017 | Supplemental Material + Submitted + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

The effect of face patch microstimulation on perception of faces and objects


What is the range of stimuli encoded by face-selective regions of the brain? We asked how electrical microstimulation of face patches in macaque inferotemporal cortex affects perception of faces and objects. We found that microstimulation strongly distorted face percepts and that this effect depended on precise targeting to the center of face patches. While microstimulation had no effect on the percept of many non-face objects, it did affect the percept of some, including non-face objects whose shape is consistent with a face (for example, apples) as well as somewhat facelike abstract images (for example, cartoon houses). Microstimulation even perturbed the percept of certain objects that did not activate the stimulated face patch at all. Overall, these results indicate that representation of facial identity is localized to face patches, but activity in these patches can also affect perception of face-compatible non-face objects, including objects normally represented in other parts of inferotemporal cortex.

Additional Information

© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 14 September 2016; accepted 30 January 2017; published online 13 March 2017. We thank N. Schweers for technical support, as well as N. Kanwisher, S. Kornblith, M. Livingstone, members of the Tsao lab and the three anonymous reviewers for critical comments. This work was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health (1R01EY019702) and the Humboldt Foundation (to S.M.). Author Contributions: S.M. and D.Y.T. designed the experiments, interpreted the data and wrote the paper. S.M. and D.Y.T. conducted all experiments except those shown in Figure 6, which were done by T.C. and L.C., and Supplementary Figure 8, which was done by L.C. S.M. analyzed the data. Data availability. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Code availability. The code used to analyze the data in this study is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Ethics. All procedures conformed to Caltech IACUC and US National Institutes of Health guidelines, including the US National Institutes of Health Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms-1697127.pdf

Submitted - SM_DYT_Manuscript_July18.docx.pdf

Supplemental Material - nn.4527-S1.pdf

Supplemental Material - nn.4527-S2.pdf

Supplemental Material - nn.4527-S3.xlsx

Supplemental Material - nn.4527-SF1.jpg

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Supplemental Material - nn.4527-SF8.jpg

Supplemental Material - nn.4527-SF9.jpg


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August 19, 2023
October 24, 2023