Temporal dynamics of visual category representation in the macaque inferior temporal cortex

Mohammad Reza A. Dehaqani, Abdol Hossein Vahabie, Roozbeh Kiani, Majid Nili Ahmadabadi, Babak Nadjar Araabi, Hossein Esteky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object categories are recognized at multiple levels of hierarchical abstractions. Psychophysical studies have shown a more rapid perceptual access to the mid-level category information (e.g., human faces) than the higher (superordinate; e.g., animal) or the lower (subordinate; e.g., face identity) level. Mid-level category members share many features, whereas few features are shared among members of different mid-level categories. To understand better the neural basis of expedited access to mid-level category information, we examined neural responses of the inferior temporal (IT) cortex of macaque monkeys viewing a large number of object images. We found an earlier representation of mid-level categories in the IT population and single-unit responses compared with superordinate- and subordinatelevel categories. The short-latency representation of mid-level category information shows that visual cortex first divides the category shape space at its sharpest boundaries, defined by high/low within/ between-group similarity. This short-latency, mid-level category boundary map may be a prerequisite for representation of other categories at more global and finer scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Category representation
  • Hierarchical abstraction
  • Inferior temporal cortex
  • Object recognition
  • Temporal dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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