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Longitudinal investigation of IT cortex: probing category selectivity with 10,000 stimuli.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 — Poster Session I

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • AP Jones
  • DA Leopold
  • DBT McMahon


In high level visual areas such as IT cortex, neurons commonly show patterns of stimulus selectivity that cannot be readily accounted for by simple feature parameters. These specialized responses exist within a high-dimensional feature space in which the relevant parameters are largely unknown. Probing the organizing principles of these representational schemes, therefore, depends on the number of trials it’s possible to obtain for a single neuron. To extend this range, we used a chronic recording technique to collect responses from temporal lobe neurons to 10,000 stimuli, including primate faces and body parts, animals, plants, objects, scenes and Fourier descriptor patterns over the course of eighteen days. Split-halves correlation analysis indicated that responses were highly reliable (r = 0.86) despite being collected over two weeks. Neurons with excitatory responses to faces tended to be inhibited by bodies and body parts, and vice versa. Face cells, which were selective for identity, face viewpoint, and image scale, also responded selectively to nonface objects. Nearby neurons tended to carry largely independent selectivity patterns. Results demonstrate that longitudinal recordings have the sensitivity to uncover complex features of neuronal specialization within massive, multidimensional feature spaces.

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