Neurons in the visual system respond to different visual stimuli with different onset latencies. However, it has remained unknown which stimulus features, aside from stimulus contrast, determine the onset latencies of responses. To examine the possibility that response onset latencies carry information about complex object images, we recorded single-cell responses in the inferior temporal cortex of alert monkeys, while they viewed >1,000 object stimuli. Many cells responded to human and non-primate animal faces with comparable magnitudes but responded significantly more quickly to human faces than to non-primate animal faces. Differences in onset latency may be used to increase the coding capacity or enhance or suppress information about particular object groups by time-dependent modulation.
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