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Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used extensively to identify regions in the inferior temporal (IT) cortex that are selective for categories of visual stimuli. However, comparatively little is known about the neuronal responses relative to these fMRI-defined regions. Here, we compared in nonhuman primates the distribution and response properties of IT neurons recorded within versus outside fMRI regions selective for four different visual categories: faces, body parts, objects, and places. Although individual neurons that preferred each of the four categories were found throughout the sampled regions, they were most concentrated within the corresponding fMRI region, decreasing significantly within 1-4 mm from the edge of these regions. Furthermore, the correspondence between fMRI and neuronal distributions was specific to neurons that increased their firing rates in response to the visual stimuli but not to neurons suppressed by visual stimuli, suggesting that the processes associated with inhibiting neuronal activity did not contribute strongly to the fMRI signal in this experiment.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





12229 - 12240


Animals, Electrophysiology, Face, Macaca mulatta, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Neurons, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Space Perception, Temporal Lobe, Visual Cortex, Visual Pathways