Differential development of high-level visual cortex correlates with category-specific recognition memory.
ABSTRACT: High-level visual cortex in humans includes functionally defined regions that preferentially respond to objects, faces and places. It is unknown how these regions develop and whether their development relates to recognition memory. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the development of several functionally defined regions including object (lateral occipital complex, LOC)-, face ('fusiform face area', FFA; superior temporal sulcus, STS)- and place ('parahippocampal place area', PPA)-selective cortices in children (ages 7-11), adolescents (12-16) and adults. Right FFA and left PPA volumes were substantially larger in adults than in children. This development occurred by expansion of FFA and PPA into surrounding cortex and was correlated with improved recognition memory for faces and places, respectively. In contrast, LOC and STS volumes and object-recognition memory remained constant across ages. Thus, the ventral stream undergoes a prolonged maturation that varies temporally across functional regions, is determined by brain region rather than stimulus category, and is correlated with the development of category-specific recognition memory.
Project description:Healthy aging is associated with decreased neural selectivity (dedifferentiation) in category-selective cortical regions. This finding has prompted the suggestion that dedifferentiation contributes to age-related cognitive decline. Consistent with this possibility, dedifferentiation has been reported to negatively correlate with fluid intelligence in older adults. Here, we examined whether dedifferentiation is associated with performance in another cognitive domain-episodic memory-that is also highly vulnerable to aging. Given the proposed role of dedifferentiation in age-related cognitive decline, we predicted there would be a stronger link between dedifferentiation and episodic memory performance in older than in younger adults. Young (18-30 years) and older (64-75 years) male and female humans underwent fMRI scanning while viewing images of objects and scenes before a subsequent recognition memory test. We computed a differentiation index in two regions of interest (ROIs): parahippocampal place area (PPA) and lateral occipital complex (LOC). This index quantified the selectivity of the BOLD response to preferred versus nonpreferred category of an ROI (scenes for PPA, objects for LOC). The differentiation index in the PPA, but not the LOC, was lower in older than in younger adults. Additionally, the PPA differentiation index predicted recognition memory performance for the studied items. This relationship was independent of and not moderated by age. The PPA differentiation index also predicted performance on a latent "fluency" factor derived from a neuropsychological test battery; this relationship was also age invariant. These findings suggest that two independent factors, one associated with age, and the other with cognitive performance, influence neural differentiation.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Aging is associated with neural dedifferentiation-reduced neural selectivity in "category-selective" cortical brain regions-which has been proposed to contribute to cognitive aging. Here, we examined whether neural differentiation is predictive of episodic memory performance, and whether the relationship is moderated by age. A neural differentiation index was estimated for scene-selective (PPA) and object-selective (LOC) cortical regions while participants studied images for a subsequent memory test. Age-related reductions were observed for the PPA, but not for the LOC, differentiation index. Importantly, the PPA differentiation index demonstrated age-invariant correlations with subsequent memory performance and a fluency factor derived from a neuropsychological battery. Together, these findings suggest that neural differentiation is associated with two independent factors: age and cognitive performance.
Project description:In human visual cortex, the primary visual cortex (V1) is considered to be essential for visual information processing; the fusiform face area (FFA) and parahippocampal place area (PPA) are considered as face-selective region and places-selective region, respectively. Recently, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study showed that the neural activity ratios between V1 and FFA were constant as eccentricities increasing in central visual field. However, in wide visual field, the neural activity relationships between V1 and FFA or V1 and PPA are still unclear. In this work, using fMRI and wide-view present system, we tried to address this issue by measuring neural activities in V1, FFA and PPA for the images of faces and houses aligning in 4 eccentricities and 4 meridians. Then, we further calculated ratio relative to V1 (RRV1) as comparing the neural responses amplitudes in FFA or PPA with those in V1. We found V1, FFA, and PPA showed significant different neural activities to faces and houses in 3 dimensions of eccentricity, meridian, and region. Most importantly, the RRV1s in FFA and PPA also exhibited significant differences in 3 dimensions. In the dimension of eccentricity, both FFA and PPA showed smaller RRV1s at central position than those at peripheral positions. In meridian dimension, both FFA and PPA showed larger RRV1s at upper vertical positions than those at lower vertical positions. In the dimension of region, FFA had larger RRV1s than PPA. We proposed that these differential RRV1s indicated FFA and PPA might have different processing strategies for encoding the wide field visual information from V1. These different processing strategies might depend on the retinal position at which faces or houses are typically observed in daily life. We posited a role of experience in shaping the information processing strategies in the ventral visual cortex.
Project description:The goal of this study was to determine the linearity of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in category-selective regions of human visual cortex. We defined regions of the temporal lobe that were selective to faces (fusiform face area, FFA) and places (parahippocampal place area, PPA). We then determined the linearity of the BOLD response in these regions to their preferred and nonpreferred stimuli. First, we tested the principle of scaling. As we increased the visibility of the stimulus, there was a corresponding linear increase in the fMRI signal in the FFA and PPA to their preferred stimulus (face and place, respectively). In contrast, responses in the FFA and PPA to the nonpreferred stimulus did not conform to the principle of scaling. Next, we asked whether the fMRI response in these regions of visual cortex conformed to the principle of additivity. To assess this, we determined whether the response to a long stimulus block could be predicted by adding the response to multiple shorter duration blocks. Although the fMRI response in the FFA and PPA was generally linear to the preferred stimulus, a more nonlinear response was apparent to the nonpreferred stimulus. In conclusion, the linearity of the BOLD response in the human ventral visual pathway varied across cortical region and stimulus category. This suggests that measures of linearity may provide a useful indication of neural selectivity in the brain.
Project description:Recognition of facial expressions is crucial for effective social interactions. Yet, the extent to which the various face-selective regions in the human brain classify different facial expressions remains unclear. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and support vector machine pattern classification analysis to determine how well face-selective brain regions are able to decode different categories of facial expression. Subjects participated in a slow event-related fMRI experiment in which they were shown 32 face pictures, portraying four different expressions: neutral, fearful, angry, and happy and belonging to eight different identities. Our results showed that only the amygdala and the posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS) were able to accurately discriminate between these expressions, albeit in different ways: the amygdala discriminated fearful faces from non-fearful faces, whereas STS discriminated neutral from emotional (fearful, angry and happy) faces. In contrast to these findings on the classification of emotional expression, only the fusiform face area (FFA) and anterior inferior temporal cortex (aIT) could discriminate among the various facial identities. Further, the amygdala and STS were better than FFA and aIT at classifying expression, while FFA and aIT were better than the amygdala and STS at classifying identity. Taken together, our findings indicate that the decoding of facial emotion and facial identity occurs in different neural substrates: the amygdala and STS for the former and FFA and aIT for the latter.
Project description:Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) are associated with a number of atypicalities in face processing, including difficulties in face memory. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this difficulty are unclear. In neurotypical individuals, repeated presentation of the same face is associated with a reduction in activity, known as repetition suppression (RS), in the fusiform face area (FFA). However, to date, no studies have investigated RS to faces in individuals with ASC, or the relationship between RS and face memory. Here, we measured RS to faces and geometric shapes in individuals with a clinical diagnosis of an ASC and in age and IQ matched controls. Relative to controls, the ASC group showed reduced RS to faces in bilateral FFA and reduced performance on a standardized test of face memory. By contrast, RS to shapes in object-selective regions and object memory did not differ between groups. Individual variation in face-memory performance was positively correlated with RS in regions of left parietal and prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest difficulties in face memory in ASC may be a consequence of differences in the way faces are stored and/or maintained across a network of regions involved in both visual perception and short-term/working memory.
Project description:BACKGROUND: To evaluate systematically the cognitive deficits following posterior cerebral artery (PCA) strokes, especially agnosic visual disorders, and to study anatomical-clinical correlations. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We investigated 31 patients at the chronic stage (mean duration of 29.1 months post infarct) with standardized cognitive tests. New experimental tests were used to assess visual impairments for words, faces, houses, and objects. Forty-one healthy subjects participated as controls. Brain lesions were normalized, combined, and related to occipitotemporal areas responsive to specific visual categories, including words (VWFA), faces (FFA and OFA), houses (PPA) and common objects (LOC). Lesions were located in the left hemisphere in 15 patients, in the right in 13, and bilaterally in 3. Visual field defects were found in 23 patients. Twenty patients had a visual disorder in at least one of the experimental tests (9 with faces, 10 with houses, 7 with phones, 3 with words). Six patients had a deficit just for a single category of stimulus. The regions of maximum overlap of brain lesions associated with a deficit for a given category of stimuli were contiguous to the peaks of the corresponding functional areas as identified in normal subjects. However, the strength of anatomical-clinical correlations was greater for words than for faces or houses, probably due to the stronger lateralization of the VWFA, as compared to the FFA or the PPA. CONCLUSIONS: Agnosic visual disorders following PCA infarcts are more frequent than previously reported. Dedicated batteries of tests, such as those developed here, are required to identify such deficits, which may escape clinical notice. The spatial relationships of lesions and of regions activated in normal subjects predict the nature of the deficits, although individual variability and bilaterally represented systems may blur those correlations.
Project description:Real-world visual scenes are complex cluttered, and heterogeneous stimuli engaging scene- and object-selective cortical regions including parahippocampal place area (PPA), retrosplenial complex (RSC), and lateral occipital complex (LOC). To understand the unique contribution of each region to distributed scene representations, we generated predictions based on a neuroanatomical framework adapted from monkey and tested them using minimal scenes in which we independently manipulated both spatial layout (open, closed, and gradient) and object content (furniture, e.g., bed, dresser). Commensurate with its strong connectivity with posterior parietal cortex, RSC evidenced strong spatial layout information but no object information, and its response was not even modulated by object presence. In contrast, LOC, which lies within the ventral visual pathway, contained strong object information but no background information. Finally, PPA, which is connected with both the dorsal and the ventral visual pathway, showed information about both objects and spatial backgrounds and was sensitive to the presence or absence of either. These results suggest that 1) LOC, PPA, and RSC have distinct representations, emphasizing different aspects of scenes, 2) the specific representations in each region are predictable from their patterns of connectivity, and 3) PPA combines both spatial layout and object information as predicted by connectivity.
Project description:Neural habituation, the decrease in brain response to repeated stimulation, is a basic form of learning. There is strong evidence for behavioral and physiological habituation deficits in schizophrenia, and one previous study found reduced neural habituation within the hippocampus. However, it is unknown whether neural habituation deficits are specific to faces and limited to the hippocampus. Here we studied habituation of several brain regions in schizophrenia, using both face and object stimuli. Post-scan memory measures were administered to test for a link between hippocampal habituation and memory performance.During an fMRI scan, 23 patients with schizophrenia and 21 control subjects viewed blocks of a repeated neutral face or neutral object, and blocks of different neutral faces and neutral objects. Habituation in the hippocampus, primary visual cortex and fusiform face area (FFA) was compared between groups. Memory for faces, words, and word pairs was assessed after the scan.Patients showed reduced habituation to faces in the hippocampus and primary visual cortex, but not the FFA. Healthy control subjects exhibited a pattern of hippocampal discrimination that distinguished between repeated and different images for both faces and objects, and schizophrenia patients did not. Hippocampal discrimination was positively correlated with memory for word pairs.Patients with schizophrenia showed reduced habituation of the hippocampus and visual cortex, and a lack of neural discrimination between old and new images in the hippocampus. Hippocampal discrimination correlated with memory performance, suggesting reduced habituation may contribute to the memory deficits commonly observed in schizophrenia.
Project description:Multiple regions in the human brain are dedicated to accomplish the feat of object recognition; yet our brains must also compute the 2D and 3D locations of the objects we encounter in order to make sense of our visual environments. A number of studies have explored how various object category-selective regions are sensitive to and have preferences for specific 2D spatial locations in addition to processing their preferred-stimulus categories, but there is no survey of how these regions respond to depth information. In a blocked functional MRI experiment, subjects viewed a series of category-specific (i.e., faces, objects, scenes) and unspecific (e.g., random moving dots) stimuli with red/green anaglyph glasses. Critically, these stimuli were presented at different depth planes such that they appeared in front of, behind, or at the same (i.e., middle) depth plane as the fixation point (Experiment 1) or simultaneously in front of and behind fixation (i.e., mixed depth; Experiment 2). Comparisons of mean response magnitudes between back, middle, and front depth planes reveal that face and object regions OFA and LOC exhibit a preference for front depths, and motion area MT+ exhibits a strong linear preference for front, followed by middle, followed by back depth planes. In contrast, scene-selective regions PPA and OPA prefer front and/or back depth planes (relative to middle). Moreover, the occipital place area demonstrates a strong preference for "mixed" depth above and beyond back alone, raising potential implications about its particular role in scene perception. Crucially, the observed depth preferences in nearly all areas were evoked irrespective of the semantic stimulus category being viewed. These results reveal that the object category-selective regions may play a role in processing or incorporating depth information that is orthogonal to their primary processing of object category information.
Project description:Several regions of the human brain respond more strongly to faces than to other visual stimuli, such as regions in the amygdala (AMG), superior temporal sulcus (STS), and the fusiform face area (FFA). It is unclear if these brain regions are similar in representing the configuration or natural appearance of face parts. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging of healthy adults who viewed natural or schematic faces with internal parts that were either normally configured or randomly rearranged. Response amplitudes were reduced in the AMG and STS when subjects viewed stimuli whose configuration of parts were digitally rearranged, suggesting that these regions represent the 1st order configuration of face parts. In contrast, response amplitudes in the FFA showed little modulation whether face parts were rearranged or if the natural face parts were replaced with lines. Instead, FFA responses were reduced only when both configural and part information were reduced, revealing an interaction between these factors, suggesting distinct representation of 1st order face configuration and parts in the AMG and STS vs. the FFA.