Contextually Evoked Object-Specific Responses in Human Visual Cortex

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Science  02 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5667, pp. 115-117
DOI: 10.1126/science.1093110

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Human visual recognition processes are remarkably robust and can function effectively even under highly degraded viewing conditions. Contextual information may play a critical role in such circumstances. Here, we provide neurophysiological evidence that contextual cues can elicit object-specific neural responses, which have hitherto been believed to be based on intrinsic cues alone. Specifically, we find that the “fusiform face area” (FFA) maintains its selectivity for faces without regard to whether the faces are defined intrinsically or contextually. This finding further elucidates the role of the FFA and reveals neural correlates of contextual processing in the service of robust object recognition.

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