Hans Op de Beeck
Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, Katholik University of Leuven, Belguim
Wednesday 2 April 2008
Seminar Room B10 (Basement)
Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR
Cracking the code of visual objects in ventral visual cortex: From distributed feature-selective maps to category-selective modules
Previous studies in humans and monkeys have revealed strong category selectivity (e.g., for faces, headless bodies, and buildings) in the cortical object vision pathway at the level of both individual neurons and larger cortical regions. I will discuss the possibility that the apparently modular category-selective regions might be parts of larger maps, and that the apparent category selectivity actually reflects selectivity for other, simpler object properties that happen to correlate with category membership. As an example, I will discuss recent evidence for the existence of a distributed map of perceived shape and the role of perceived shape for the representation of unfamiliar and familiar objects. I will conclude with some thoughts about how overlapping continuous maps of object properties like perceived shape and functionality might give rise to relatively discrete modules that are selective for complex, familiar objects.