9.71 | Fall 2007 | Undergraduate

Functional MRI of High-Level Vision


Online Resources

Information About fMRI Methods, fMRI Physics, and Neuroanatomy

Useful Slides on fMRI Physics and Methods

Useful Reading Resources

Huettel, Scott A., Allen W. Song, and Gregory McCarthy. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2004. ISBN: 9780878932887.

Buy at MIT Press Farah, Martha J. Visual Agnosia. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780262062381.

———. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Vision. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. ISBN: 9780631214038.

1 Introduction to fMRI and high-level vision Huettel. Chapters 1 (Chapter 2 = optional), 2004.

Functional organization of the ventral visual pathway

Controversies concerning this organization

FMRI design/methods

How to critique an fMRI paper


Kanwisher, N. “What’s in a Face?” Science 311, no. 5761 (2006): 617-8.

Grill-Spector, K., and R. Malach. “The Human Visual Cortex.” Annu Rev Neurosci 27 (2004): 649-77.


Buy at MIT Press Kanwisher, N. “The Ventral Visual Object Pathway in Humans: Evidence from fMRI.” In The Visual Neurosciences. Edited by Leo M. Chalupa and John S. Werner. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780262033084.

Talbot, Margaret. “Duped.” New Yorker, July 2007.

Buy at MIT Press Culham, J. C. “Functional Neuroimaging: Experimental Design and Analysis.” In Handbook of Functional Neuroimaging of Cognition Book. Edited by R. Cabeza and A. Kingstone. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2001, pp. 53-82. ISBN: 9780262032803.

Haxby, J. V., M. I. Gobbini, M. L. Furey, A. Ishai, J. L. Schouten, and P. Pietrini. “Distributed and Overlapping Representations of Faces and Objects in Ventral Temporal Cortex.” Science, no. 5539 (September 28, 2001): 293 and 2425.

Pietrini, P., M. L. Furey, E. Ricciardi, M. I. Gobbini, W. H. Wu, L. Cohen, M. Guazzelli, and J. V. Haxby. “Beyond Sensory Images: Object-based Representation in the Human Ventral Pathway.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101, no. 15 (April 13, 2004): 5658-63.

Reddy, L., and N. Kanwisher. “Coding of Visual Objects in the Ventral Stream.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology 16, no. 4 (2006): 408-414.

Urgesi, C., M. Candidi, S. Ionta, and S. M. Aglioti. “Representation of Body Identity and Body Actions in Extrastriate Body Area and Ventral Premotor Cortex.” Nat Neurosci. 10, no. 1 (2007): 30-1.


Visual recoginition, object shape, and the lateral occipital complex (LOC)

Basic neuroanatomy of the visual system


Ullman, S. “Approaches to Visual Recognition.” In Functional Neuroimaging of Visual Cognition. Edited by Nancy Kanwisher and John Duncan. Oxford; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780198528456.

Grill-Spector, K., Z. Kourtzi, and N. Kanwisher. “The Lateral Occipital Complex and its Role in Object Recognition.” Vis Res 41 (2001): 1409-22.

McKyton, A., and E. Zohary. “Beyond Retinotopic Mapping: The Spatial Representation of Objects in the Human Lateral Occipital Complex.” Cereb Cortex 17, no. 5 (2007): 1164-1172.

Hayworth, K. J., and I. Biederman. “Neural Evidence for Intermediate Representations in Object Recognition.” Vision Res 46, no. 23 (2006): 4024-31.

Vuilleumier, P., R. N. Henson, J. Driver, and R. J. Dolan. “Multiple Levels of Visual Object Constancy Revealed by Event-related fMRI of Repetition Priming.” Nat Neurosci 5, no. 5 (May 2002): 491-9.

Amedi, A., G. Jacobson, T. Hendler, R. Malach, and E. Zohary. “Convergence of Visual and Tactile Shape Processing in the Human Lateral Occipital Complex.” Cereb Cortex 12, no. 11 (November 2002): 1202-12.

Valyear, K. F., J. C. Culham, N. Sharif, D. Westwood, and M. A. Goodale. “A Double Dissociation Between Sensitivity to Changes in Object Identity and Object Orientation in the Ventral and Dorsal Visual Streams: A Human fMRI Study.” Neuropsychologia 44, no. 2 (2006): 218-228.

4 Scene perception and the PPA


Epstein, R. A. “The Cortical Basis of Visual Scene Processing.” Visual Cognition 12, no. 6 (2005).

Oliva, A., and A. Torralba. “Building the Gist of a Scene: The Role of Global Image Features in Recognition.” Progress in Brain Research: Visual Perception 155 (2006): 23-36.


Any article in Volume 12 Issue 6 of Visual Cognition.

Bar, M. “Visual Object in Context.” Nature Neuroscience Review (2004): 617-628.

5 Face processing and the FFA


Kanwisher, N., and G. Yovel. “The Fusiform Face Area: A Cortical Region Specialized for the Perception of Faces.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 361 (2006): 2109-28.


McKone, E., N. Kanwisher, and B. C. Duchaine. “Can Generic Expertise Explain Special Processing for Faces?” Trends Cogn Sci 11 (2007): 8-15.


Farah, Martha J. Chapter 7 in Visual Agnosia. 2nd ed. 2004.


Tanaka, J. W., E. McKone, P. Martini, and K. Nakayama. “Isolating Holistic Processing in Faces (And Perhaps Objects).” Chapter 4 in Perception of Faces, Objects, and Scenes: Analytic and Holistic Processes. Edited by Mary A. Peterson and Gillian Rhodes. Oxford; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780195165388.

 Spellman, B. A., J. DeLoache, and R. A. Bjork. “Making Claims in Papers and Talks.” In Critical Thinking in Psychology. Edited by R. J. Sternberg, H. L. Roediger III, and D. F. Halpern. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780521608343.

Tsao, D. Y., W. A. Freiwald, R. B. Tootell, and M. S. Livingstone. “A Cortical Region Consisting Entirely of Face-Selective Cells.” Science 311, no. 5761 (2006): 670-4.

Grelotti, K., S. Gauthier, G. Cohen, and S. Volkmar. “fMRI Activation of the Fusiform Gyrus and Amygdala to Cartoon Characters but not to Faces in a Boy with Autism.” Neuropsychologia 43, no. 3 (2005): 373-85.

6 Visual attention


Buy at MIT Press Freiwald, W. A., and N. Kanwisher. “Visual Selective Attention: insights from Brain Imaging and Neurophysiology.” In The Cognitive Neurosciences III. Edited by Michael S. Gazzaniga. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780262072540.

Behrmann, M., J. J. Geng, and S. Shomstein. “Parietal Cortex and Attention.” Curr Opin Neurobiol 14, no. 2 (April 2004): 212-7.

7 Visual awareness


Rees, G. “Neural Correlates of the Contents of Visual Awareness in Humans.” Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 362, no. 1481 (May 2007): 877-86.


Kanwisher, N. “Neural Events and Perceptual Awareness.” Cognition 79 (2001): 89-113.


Sergent, C., and S. Dehaene. “Neural Processes Underlying Conscious Perception: Experimental Findings and a Global Neuronal Workspace Framework.” J Physiol Paris 98, nos. 4-6 (2004): 374-84.


Baars, Bernard J. “The Conscious Access Hypothesis: Origins and Recent Evidence.” Trends Cogn Sci 6 (2002): 47-52.

8 The dorsal/parietal pathway: visual attention, visually guided action and number including visually guided action, number, attention, response selection, etc.


Culham, J. C., and K. F. Valyear. “Human Parietal Cortex in Action.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology 6 (2006): 205 - 212.

Culham, J. C., C. Cavina-Pratesi, and A. Singhal. “The Role of Parietal Cortex in Visuomotor Control: What have we Learned From Neuroimaging?” Neuropsychologia 44 (2006): 2668-2684.

Grefkes, C., and G. R. Fink. “The Functional Organization of the Intraparietal Sulcus in Humans and Monkeys.” J Anat 207, no. 1 (2005): 3-17.

9 In second half of class (if we don’t get to this topic earlier): classification methods, brain reading Required

Norman, K. A., S. M. Polyn, G. J. Detre, and J. V Haxby. “Beyond Mind-Reading: Multi-voxel Pattern Analysis of fMRI Data.” Trends Cogn Sci 10, no. 9 (2006): 424-430.


Williams, M., S. Dang, and N. Kanwisher. “Only Some Spatial Patterns of fMRI Response are Read Out in Task Performance.” Nat Neurosci 10, no. 6 (2007): 685-6.

Haynes, J. D., and G. Rees. “Predicting the Stream of Consciousness from Activity in Human Visual Cortex.” Curr Biol 15, no. 14 (July 2005): 1301-7.

Kamitani, Y., and F. Tong. “Decoding Seen and Attended Motion Directions from Activity in the Human Visual Cortex.” Curr Biol 16, no. 11 (2006): 1096-102.

10 Development and effects of experience on visual and extrastriate cortex


Kourtzi, Z., and J. J. DiCarlo. “Learning and Neural Plasticity in Visual Object Recognition.” Curr Opin Neurobiol 16, no. 2 (2006): 152-8.

Golarai, G., D. G. Ghahremani, S. Whitfield-Gabrieli, A. Reiss, J. L. Eberhardt, J. D. Gabrieli, and K. Grill-Spector. “Differential Development of High-level Visual Cortex Correlates with Category-Specific Recognition Memory.” Nat Neurosci 10, no. 4 (2007): 512-22.

Gaillard, R., L. Naccache, P. Pinel, S. Clemenceau, E. Volle, D. Hasboun, S. Dupont, M. Baulac, S. Dehaene, C. Adam, and L. Cohen. “Direct Intracranial, fMRI, and Lesion Evidence for the Causal Role of Left Inferotemporal Cortex in Reading.” Neuron 50, no. 2 (2006): 191-204.

Weisberg, J., M. Van Turennout, and A. Martin. “A Neural System for Learning about Object Function.” Cereb Cortex 17, no. 3 (2006): 513-521.

Baker, C. I., E. Peli, N. Knouf, and N. G. Kanwisher. “Reorganization of Visual Processing in Macular Degeneration.” J Neurosci 25, no. 3 (2005): 614-8.

Baker, C. I., J. Liu, L. L. Wald, K. K. Kwong, T. Benner, and N. G. Kanwisher N. “Visual Word Processing and Experiential Origins of Functional Selectivity in Human Extrastriate Cortex.” Proc Natl Acad Sci 104, no. 21 (2007): 9087-92.

Op de Beeck, H. P., C. I. Baker, J. J. DiCarlo, and N. G. Kanwisher. “Discrimination Training Alters Object Representations in Human Extrastriate Cortex.” J Neurosci 26, no. 50 (2006): 13025-36.


In class we will have one or more guest lectures, e.g.:

  • Evelina Fedorenko, on Neuroimaging of Language
  • Rebecca Saxe, on Neuroimaging of Theory of Mind
  • Basic MR Physics (if you are interested)


Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2007
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Presentation Assignments