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Brain Reading in the Human Visual Pathways: Why there is no FACE area in the brain

Dr. Stephen Jose Hanson

Thursday, October 02, 2014, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Director of RUBIC and Professor of Psychology, Newark

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In this talk, I will present some basics of fMRI methods, and provide a tutorial context for the acquisition of the MR signal which will allow us to critically examine the evidence for a FACE area in the brain.  Using new methods for "brain reading" developed jointly with the Haxby Lab (MPVA/PD), we will see that the so called FFA is not sensitive to faces, per se, nor is it homogenous in its stimulus response properties (even at very high spatial resolution), nor is it independent in its function relative to other areas of the brain that comprise an identifiable network in the brain which appears to do something other than "FACE" identification.  In fact, we will show that the highly distributed nature of the computation in temporal lobe and throughout cortex is unlikely to support anything as a local module for a specific concept or category.  Nonetheless, once the distributed encoding is properly decoded, basic categorical distinctions in temporal cortex can be revealed, such as Animacy.

Dr. Stephen Jose Hanson