A neural basis for expert object recognition

Psychol Sci. 2001 Jan;12(1):43-7. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.00308.


Although most adults are considered to be experts in the identification of faces, fewer people specialize in the recognition of other objects, such as birds and dogs. In this research, the neurophysiological processes associated with expert bird and dog recognition were investigated using event-related potentials. An enhanced early negative component (N170, 164 ms) was found when bird and dog experts categorized objects in their domain of expertise relative to when they categorized objects outside their domain of expertise. This finding indicates that objects from well-learned categories are neurologically differentiated from objects from lesser-known categories at a relatively early stage of visual processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Visual Perception / physiology*