Top-Down Facilitation of Visual Object Recognition

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6 Scopus citations


Cortical processing required for object recognition is traditionally thought to be propagating serially along a hierarchy of visual areas that analyze increasingly complex information. Recent efforts gradually promote the involvement of top-down facilitation in cortical functions, but how such processing is initiated remains a puzzle. A specific mechanism for the activation of top-down facilitation during visual object recognition is described in this chapter. This mechanism is triggered by the rapid projection of a partially analyzed version of the input image (that is, a blurred image) from early visual areas directly to the prefrontal cortex. As a result, the information that is activated in the prefrontal cortex is back-projected to “object-related” regions in the temporal cortex to produce expectations about the most likely interpretation of the input image. This top-down process facilitates recognition by substantially limiting the number of object representations that need to be considered. The relation between the top-down processes that facilitate recognition and the top-down processes that exert attentional influence is discussed in the chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeurobiology of Attention
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780123757319
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This chapter is based on Bar (2003) . I thank S. Ullman, H. Barbas, B. Rosen, A. Shmuel, and R. Tootell for helpful discussions, and E. Aminoff and K. Kassam for technical assistance. This work was supported by NINDS R01NS44319–01, by the MIND Institute, and by the James S. McDonnell Foundation – 21st Century Science Research Award #21002039.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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