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Functional Modules: How do we get them and what good are they?

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Functional Modules: How do we get them and what good are they? Abstract: There are distinct regions of the brain, reproducible from one person to the next, specialized for processing the most universal forms of human expertise. What is the relationship between behavioral expertise and dedicated brain structures? Do reproducible brain structures mean only certain abilities are innate, or easily learned, or does intensive early experience influence the emergence of expertise and/or dedicated brain circuits? We found that intensive early, but not late, experience produces category-selective modules in macaque temporal lobe for stimuli never naturally encountered by monkeys, and produces more fluent processing of these stimuli than the same experience later in life. This suggests that, as in early sensory areas, experience can drive functional segregation and that this segregation may determine how that information is processed.

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Srihasam, K., Mandeville, J. B., Morocz, I. A., Sullivan, K. J. & Livingstone, M.S. 2012. Behavioral and Anatomical Consequences of Early versus Late Symbol Training in Macaques. Neuron 73, 608-619.

This talk is part of the Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience series.

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