The present functional magnetic resonance imaging study provides direct evidence on visual object-category formation in the human brain. Although brain imaging has demonstrated object-category specific representations in the occipitotemporal cortex, the crucial question of how the brain acquires this knowledge has remained unresolved. We designed a stimulus set consisting of six highly similar bird types that can hardly be distinguished without training. All bird types were morphed with one another to create different exemplars of each category. After visual training, fMRI showed that responses in the right fusiform gyrus were larger for bird types for which a discrete category-boundary was established as compared with not-trained bird types. Importantly, compared with not-trained bird types, right fusiform responses were smaller for visually similar birds to which subjects were exposed during training but for which no category-boundary was learned. These data provide evidence for experience-induced shaping of occipitotemporal responses that are involved in category learning in the human brain. © 2008 van der Linden et al.
van der Linden, M., Murre, J. M. J., & van Turennout, M. (2008). Birds of a feather flock together: Experience-driven formation of visual object categories in human ventral temporal cortex. PLoS ONE, 3(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003995