Category-selective patterns of neural response in the ventral visual pathway in the absence of categorical information

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Neuroimaging studies have revealed distinct patterns of response to different object categories in the ventral visual pathway. These findings imply that object category is an important organizing principle in this region of visual cortex. However, object categories also differ systematically in their image properties. So, it is possible that these patterns of neural response could reflect differences in image properties rather than object category. To differentiate between these alternative explanations, we used images of objects that had been phase-scrambled at a local or global level. Both scrambling processes preserved many of the lower-level image properties, but rendered the images unrecognizable. We then measured the effect of image scrambling on the patterns of neural response within the ventral pathway. We found that intact and scrambled images evoked distinct category-selective patterns of activity in the ventral stream. Moreover, intact and scrambled images of the same object category produced highly similar patterns of response. These results suggest that the neural representation in the ventral visual pathway is tightly linked to the statistical properties of the image.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
Early online date28 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2016

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© 2016, Elsevier Inc. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • Face
  • fMRI
  • MVPA
  • Object recognition
  • Ventral stream

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