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Categorization training results in shape- and category-selective human neural plasticity.


Object category learning is a fundamental ability, requiring the combination of "bottom-up" stimulus-driven with "top-down" task-specific information. It therefore may be a fruitful domain for study of the general neural mechanisms underlying cortical plasticity. A simple model predicts that category learning involves the formation of a task-independent shape-selective representation that provides input to circuits learning the categorization task, with the computationally appealing prediction of facilitated learning of additional, novel tasks over the same stimuli. Using fMRI rapid-adaptation techniques, we find that categorization training (on morphed "cars") induced a significant release from adaptation for small shape changes in lateral occipital cortex irrespective of category membership, compatible with the sharpening of a representation coding for physical appearance. In contrast, an area in lateral prefrontal cortex, selectively activated during categorization, showed sensitivity posttraining to explicit changes in category membership. Further supporting the model, categorization training also improved discrimination performance on the trained stimuli.

Pubmed ID: 17359923


  • Jiang X
  • Bradley E
  • Rini RA
  • Zeffiro T
  • Vanmeter J
  • Riesenhuber M



Publication Data

March 15, 2007

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NCRR NIH HHS, Id: M01 RR020359
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: P20 MH066239
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: P20 MH066239-04
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: P20MH66239
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: P30 HD40677
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH076281
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH076281-02
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01MH076281

Mesh Terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Discrimination (Psychology)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Learning
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Oxygen
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time