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Published April 13, 2013 | Published
Journal Article Open

Systems for Category-Selective Processing in the Macaque


fMRI studies in the mid and late 1990s described an area in the human brain that showed strongly increased blood flow in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments when people viewed pictures of faces compared to pictures of objects (1). This seemed to offer an ideal potential preparation for tackling the problem of how the brain extracts global visual form: a small piece of brain specialized to encode a single visual form. Thus, 12 years ago, Winrich Freiwald and I began a journey into exploring the neural basis of face processing. We decided to look for a face-selective area in macaque monkeys, reasoning that it would not be unreasonable to find such a region in monkeys, since face recognition is also integral to macaques—and most importantly, if we did find such a region, then we could target an electrode to the region (something not possible in humans) and directly record from individual neurons to ask how they are encoding faces. In my talk, I will discuss the anatomical and functional organization of the macaque face processing system, as well as the more recently discovered macaque scene processing system. How are regions within these two systems system connected to each other and the rest of the brain? What representations are used in face and scene-selective regions? What is the contribution of different regions to behavior? What information is communicated between regions?

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© 2013 Cognitive Neuroscience Society.

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