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J Neurosci. 2003 Jun 15;23(12):5235-46.

A comparison of primate prefrontal and inferior temporal cortices during visual categorization.

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The Picower Center for Learning and Memory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Previous studies have suggested that both the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and inferior temporal cortex (ITC) are involved in high-level visual processing and categorization, but their respective roles are not known. To address this, we trained monkeys to categorize a continuous set of visual stimuli into two categories, "cats" and "dogs." The stimuli were parametrically generated using a computer graphics morphing system (Sheltonelton, 2000) that allowed precise control over stimulus shape. After training, we recorded neural activity from the PFC and the ITC of monkeys while they performed a category-matching task. We found that the PFC and the ITC play distinct roles in category-based behaviors: the ITC seems more involved in the analysis of currently viewed shapes, whereas the PFC showed stronger category signals, memory effects, and a greater tendency to encode information in terms of its behavioral meaning.

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