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Data-driven Functional Clustering Reveals Dominance of Face, Place, and Body Selectivity in the Ventral Visual Pathway

1Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
2Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program, Duke-National University of Singapore, Singapore.
4Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
HighWire Press
Publication Date:
J Neurophysiol
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
J Neurophysiol. 2012 Oct;108(8):2306-22.
PubMed ID:
Projects:fMRIClustering, cluster analysis, Functional MRI (fMRI), object recognition, vision
Appears in Collections:
P41 EB015902/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
U54 EB005149/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Vul E., Lashkari D., Hsieh P-J., Golland P., Kanwisher N. Data-driven Functional Clustering Reveals Dominance of Face, Place, and Body Selectivity in the Ventral Visual Pathway. J Neurophysiol. 2012 Oct;108(8):2306-22. PMID: 22745467. PMCID: PMC3545018.
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Regions selective for faces, places, and bodies feature prominently in the literature on the human ventral visual pathway. Are selectivities for these categories in fact the most robust response profiles in this pathway, or is their prominence an artifact of biased sampling of the hypothesis space in prior work? Here we use a data-driven structure discovery method that avoids the assumptions built into most prior work by 1) giving equal consideration to all possible response profiles over the conditions tested, 2) relaxing implicit anatomical constraints (that important functional profiles should manifest themselves in spatially contiguous voxels arising in similar locations across subjects), and 3) testing for dominant response profiles over images, rather than categories, thus enabling us to discover, rather than presume, the categories respected by the brain. Even with these assumptions relaxed, face, place, and body selectivity emerge as dominant in the ventral stream.

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