|Visual Pathways Fine Tuned Over Time|
Marlene Behrmann, Carnegie Mellon University
In adolescents, activation in the ventral visual pathway for the category of “faces” appears at first glance to be adult-like; but, surprisingly, their recognition abilities for individual faces is actually still immature. Now TDLC researchers Marlene Behrmann, K. Suzanne Scherf, Beatriz Luna and Galia Avidan have investigated at the neural level the ability to represent individual faces and houses. In their study, which included children, adolescents and adults, category-selective regions of interest (ROI) in the fusiform gyrus (FG) were individually identified for faces, with sites in the parahippocampal place area (PPA) individually identified for houses.
These results indicate that category-level neural tuning develops prior to individual-level neural tuning throughout the ventral visual pathway and that face-related cortex is disproportionately slower in this developmental transition than is place-related cortex.
These findings would seem to provide novel evidence that, developmentally, category-level neural tuning precedes individual-level neural tuning throughout the ventral visual pathway: across all three age groups, stimulus-specific neural tuning (i.e., individual-level adaptation) for faces and/or houses was present only if category-level selectivity for these stimulus classes was already established.
“What precedes which: Developmental neural tuning in face- and place-related cortex.” Scherf, K. S., Luna, B., Avidan, G., and Behrmann, M., Cerebral Cortex (in review).