Selective perceptual impairments after perirhinal cortex ablation.
Buckley MJ., Booth MC., Rolls ET., Gaffan D.
It has been suggested that the primate perirhinal cortex contributes exclusively to memory. However, recent studies in macaque monkeys have implied that the perirhinal cortex may also contribute to object perception. To investigate whether the perirhinal cortex does contribute to perception, we devised several perceptual oddity tasks in which monkeys had to choose which stimulus of several presented concurrently on a touch screen was different. Macaques with bilateral perirhinal cortex ablations were selectively impaired relative to controls at perceptually discriminating the odd stimulus when the odd stimulus was a different object and when the discrimination could not be done on the basis of simple differences in features between the stimuli. They remained unimpaired relative to controls on discriminating the odd stimulus when the odd stimulus was a different color, a different shape, or a different size even when these discriminations were extremely difficult. They were also impaired on human and monkey face oddity tasks and oddity tasks with scenes containing objects. Therefore, we reject the notion that the macaque perirhinal cortex has a role exclusive to memory and conclude that the macaque perirhinal cortex does contribute to perception. We argue that the perirhinal cortex is neither specialized for perception nor memory processes alone, but rather, is specialized for processing stimuli that require processing at a more abstract level such as at the level of an object and that the perirhinal cortex contributes to both memory and perception of such stimuli.