Shape-coding in IT cells generalizes over contrast and mirror reversal, but not figure-ground reversal

Nat Neurosci. 2001 Sep;4(9):937-42. doi: 10.1038/nn0901-937.


We assessed how the visual shape preferences of neurons in the inferior temporal cortex of awake, behaving monkeys generalized across three different stimulus transformations. Stimulus-preferences of particular cells among different polygon displays were correlated across reversed contrast polarity or mirror reversal, but not across figure-ground reversal. This corresponds with psychological findings on human shape judgments. Our results imply that neurons in inferior temporal cortex respond to components of visual shape derived only after figure-ground assignment of contours, not to the contours themselves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Field Dependence-Independence
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*