All Publications

  • White matter connections of high-level visual areas predict cytoarchitecture better than category-selectivity in childhood, but not adulthood. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) Kubota, E., Grotheer, M., Finzi, D., Natu, V. S., Gomez, J., Grill-Spector, K. 2022


    Ventral temporal cortex (VTC) consists of high-level visual regions that are arranged in consistent anatomical locations across individuals. This consistency has led to several hypotheses about the factors that constrain the functional organization of VTC. A prevailing theory is that white matter connections influence the organization of VTC, however, the nature of this constraint is unclear. Here, we test 2 hypotheses: (1) white matter tracts are specific for each category or (2) white matter tracts are specific to cytoarchitectonic areas of VTC. To test these hypotheses, we used diffusion magnetic resonance imaging to identify white matter tracts and functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify category-selective regions in VTC in children and adults. We find that in childhood, white matter connections are linked to cytoarchitecture rather than category-selectivity. In adulthood, however, white matter connections are linked to both cytoarchitecture and category-selectivity. These results suggest a rethinking of the view that category-selective regions in VTC have category-specific white matter connections early in development. Instead, these findings suggest that the neural hardware underlying the processing of categorical stimuli may be more domain-general than previously thought, particularly in childhood.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/cercor/bhac221

    View details for PubMedID 35671505

  • Holistic face recognition is an emergent phenomenon of spatial processing in face-selective regions. Nature communications Poltoratski, S., Kay, K., Finzi, D., Grill-Spector, K. 2021; 12 (1): 4745


    Spatial processing by receptive fields is a core property of the visual system. However, it is unknown how spatial processing in high-level regions contributes to recognition behavior. As face inversion is thought to disrupt typical holistic processing of information in faces, we mapped population receptive fields (pRFs) with upright and inverted faces in the human visual system. Here we show that in face-selective regions, but not primary visual cortex, pRFs and overall visual field coverage are smaller and shifted downward in response to face inversion. From these measurements, we successfully predict the relative behavioral detriment of face inversion at different positions in the visual field. This correspondence between neural measurements and behavior demonstrates how spatial processing in face-selective regions may enable holistic perception. These results not only show that spatial processing in high-level visual regions is dynamically used towards recognition, but also suggest a powerful approach for bridging neural computations by receptive fields to behavior.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-24806-1

    View details for PubMedID 34362883

  • Cortical recycling in high-level visual cortex during childhood development. Nature human behaviour Nordt, M., Gomez, J., Natu, V. S., Rezai, A. A., Finzi, D., Kular, H., Grill-Spector, K. 2021


    Human ventral temporal cortex contains category-selective regions that respond preferentially to ecologically relevant categories such as faces, bodies, places and words and that are causally involved in the perception of these categories. How do these regions develop during childhood? We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure longitudinal development of category selectivity in school-age children over 1 to 5 years. We discovered that, from young childhood to the teens, face- and word-selective regions in ventral temporal cortex expand and become more category selective, but limb-selective regions shrink and lose their preference for limbs. Critically, as a child develops, increases in face and word selectivity are directly linked to decreases in limb selectivity, revealing that during childhood, limb selectivity in ventral temporal cortex is repurposed into word and face selectivity. These data provide evidence for cortical recycling during childhood development. This has important implications for understanding typical as well as atypical brain development and necessitates a rethinking of how cortical function develops during childhood.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41562-021-01141-5

    View details for PubMedID 34140657

  • Differential spatial computations in ventral and lateral face-selective regions are scaffolded by structural connections. Nature communications Finzi, D., Gomez, J., Nordt, M., Rezai, A. A., Poltoratski, S., Grill-Spector, K. 2021; 12 (1): 2278


    Face-processing occurs across ventral and lateral visual streams, which are involved in static and dynamic face perception, respectively. However, the nature of spatial computations across streams is unknown. Using functional MRI and population receptive field (pRF) mapping, we measured pRFs in face-selective regions. Results reveal that spatial computations by pRFs in ventral face-selective regions are concentrated around the center of gaze (fovea), but spatial computations in lateral face-selective regions extend peripherally. Diffusion MRI reveals that these differences are mirrored by a preponderance of white matter connections between ventral face-selective regions and foveal early visual cortex (EVC), while connections with lateral regions are distributed more uniformly across EVC eccentricities. These findings suggest a rethinking of spatial computations in face-selective regions, showing that they vary across ventral and lateral streams, and further propose that spatial computations in high-level regions are scaffolded by the fine-grain pattern of white matter connections from EVC.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-22524-2

    View details for PubMedID 33859195

  • Distinct Motivational Effects of Contingent and Noncontingent Rewards. Psychological science Manohar, S. G., Finzi, R. D., Drew, D., Husain, M. 2017: 956797617693326-?


    When rewards are available, people expend more energy, increasing their motivational vigor. In theory, incentives might drive behavior for two distinct reasons: First, they increase expected reward; second, they increase the difference in subjective value between successful and unsuccessful performance, which increases contingency-the degree to which action determines outcome. Previous studies of motivational vigor have never compared these directly. Here, we indexed motivational vigor by measuring the speed of eye movements toward a target after participants heard a cue indicating how outcomes would be determined. Eye movements were faster when the cue indicated that monetary rewards would be contingent on performance than when the cue indicated that rewards would be random. But even when the cue indicated that a reward was guaranteed regardless of speed, movement was still faster than when no reward was available. Motivation by contingent and certain rewards was uncorrelated across individuals, which suggests that there are two separable, independent components of motivation. Contingent motivation generated autonomic arousal, and unlike noncontingent motivation, was effective with penalties as well as rewards.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797617693326

    View details for PubMedID 28488927

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5510684

  • The role of holistic face processing in acquired prosopagnosia: evidence from the composite face effect VISUAL COGNITION Finzi, R. D., Susilo, T., Barton, J. J., Duchaine, B. C. 2016; 24 (4): 304-320