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Krishna Srihasam; Novel module formation reveals underlying shape bias in primate infero-temporal cortex. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1418. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1418.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Primate inferotemporal cortex is divided up into domains specialized for processing specific object categories, such as faces, text, places, and body parts. These domains are in stereotyped locations in most humans and monkeys. What are the contributions of visual experience and innate programs in generating this organization? The reproducible location of different category-selective domains in humans and macaques suggests that some aspects of IT category organization must be innate. However, the existence of a visual word form area, the effects of expertise and our recent finding that novel specializations appear in IT as a consequence of intensive early training indicate that experience must also be important in the formation or refinement of category-selective domains in IT. To ask what determines the locations of such domains, we intensively trained juvenile monkeys to recognize three distinct sets of shapes: alphanumeric symbols, rectilinear shapes and cartoon faces. After training, the monkeys developed regions that were selectively responsive to each trained set. The location of each specialization was similar across monkeys, despite differences in training order. The fact that these domains consistently mapped to characteristic locations suggests that a pre-existing shape organization determines where experience will exert its effects.
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