Expertise for cars and birds recruits brain areas involved in face recognition

  title={Expertise for cars and birds recruits brain areas involved in face recognition},
  author={Isabel Gauthier and Pawel Skudlarski and John C. Gore and Adam W. Anderson},
  journal={Nature Neuroscience},
Expertise with unfamiliar objects (‘greebles’) recruits face-selective areas in the fusiform gyrus (FFA) and occipital lobe (OFA). Here we extend this finding to other homogeneous categories. Bird and car experts were tested with functional magnetic resonance imaging during tasks with faces, familiar objects, cars and birds. Homogeneous categories activated the FFA more than familiar objects. Moreover, the right FFA and OFA showed significant expertise effects. An independent behavioral test of… 

Robust expertise effects in right FFA

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Using both side-view car images that do not resemble faces and bird images in an event-related fMRI design that minimizes attentional modulation, an expertise effect in the right FFA is observed in both car and bird experts (although a baseline bias makes the bird expertise effect less reliable).

The fusiform face area subserves face perception, not generic within-category identification

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The M170 is selective for faces, not for expertise

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What is the role of the Fusiform Face Area (FFA)? Is it specific to face processing, or is it a visual expertise area? The expertise hypothesis is appealing due to a number of studies showing that

Can generic expertise explain special processing for faces?

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Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure changes associated with increasing expertise in brain areas selected for their face preference, and evidence is presented that expertise recruits the fusiform gyrus 'face area'.

Face-Specific Processing in the Human Fusiform Gyrus

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The fusiform face area is selective for faces not animals.

It is demonstrated that the human fusiform face area is selective for faces, not for animals.

Face recognition in human extrastriate cortex.

The results suggest that discrete regions of inferior extrastriate visual cortex, varying in location between individuals, are specialized for the recognition of faces.

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It is concluded that the fusiform face area in humans lies in non‐retinotopic visual association cortex of the ventral form‐processing stream, in an area that may be roughly homologous in location to area TF or CITv in monkeys.

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It is proposed that the functional architecture of the ventral visual pathway is not a mosaic of category-specific modules but instead is a continuous representation of information about object form that has a highly consistent and orderly topological arrangement.