Inferotemporal neurons represent low-dimensional configurations of parameterized shapes

Nat Neurosci. 2001 Dec;4(12):1244-52. doi: 10.1038/nn767.


Behavioral studies with parameterized shapes have shown that the similarities among these complex stimuli can be represented using a low number of dimensions. Using psychophysical measurements and single-cell recordings in macaque inferotemporal (IT) cortex, we found an agreement between low-dimensional parametric configurations of shapes and the representation of shape similarity at the behavioral and neuronal level. The shape configurations, computed from both the perceived and neuron-based similarities, revealed a low number of dimensions and contained the same stimulus order as the parametric configurations. However, at a metric level, the behavioral and neural representations deviated consistently from the parametric configurations. These findings suggest an ordinally faithful but metrically biased representation of shape similarity in IT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Observer Variation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*