Understanding howthe human visual system develops is crucialto understandingthe nature and organization of our complex and varied visual representations. However, previous investigations of the development of the visual system using fMRI are primarily confined to a subset of the visual system (high-level vision: faces, scenes) and relatively late in visual development (starting at 4 –5 years of age). The current study extends our understanding of human visual development by presenting the first systematic investigation of a mid-level visual region [the lateral occipital cortex (LOC)] in a population much younger than has been investigated in the past: 6 month olds. We use functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), an emerging optical method for recording cortical hemodynamics, to perform neuroimaging withthis very young population. Whereas previous fNIRS studies have suffered from imprecise neuroanatomical localization, we rely onthemost rigorousMR coregistration offNIRS datato datetoimagetheinfant LOC.Wefind surprising evidencethat at 6months the LOC has functional specialization that is highly similar to adults. Following Cant and Goodale (2007), we investigate whether the LOC tracks shapeinformation and not other cuesto objectidentity (e.g.,texture/material). Thisfinding extends evidence of LOC specialization from early childhood into infancy and earlier than developmental trajectories of high-level visual regions.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Published in Journal of Neuroscience, Volume 37, Issue 13, 2017, pages 3698-3703.
© 2017 the authors
Emberson, L. L., Crosswhite, S. L., Richards, J. E., & Aslin, R. N. (2017). The lateral occipital cortex is selective for object shape, not texture/color, at six monthsThe Lateral Occipital Cortex Is Selective for Object Shape, Not Texture/Color, at Six Months. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37(13), 3698–3703.