Training can lead to long-lasting improvement in our perceptual ability, which is referred to as perceptual learning. Unraveling its neural mechanisms has proved difficult. With functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we addressed this issue by searching for the neural correlates of perceptual learning of face views over a long time course. Human subjects were trained to perform a face view discrimination task. Their behavioral performance and MRI signals were measured before, immediately after, and 1 month after training. We found that, across individual subjects, their behavioral learning effects correlated with the stability improvement of spatial activity pattern in the left fusiform cortex immediately after and 1 month after training. We also found that the thickness of the left fusiform cortex before training could predict subjects' behavioral learning effects. These findings, for the first time, not only suggest that, remarkably, the improved pattern stability contributes to the long-term mechanisms of perceptual learning, but also provide strong and converging evidence for the pivotal role of the left fusiform cortex in adaptive face processing. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Bi, T., Chen, J., Zhou, T., He, Y., & Fang, F. (2014). Function and structure of human left fusiform cortex are closely associated with perceptual learning of faces. Current Biology, 24(2), 222–227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.028