Article abstract

Nature Neuroscience 10, 512 - 522 (2007)
Published online: 11 March 2007 | doi:10.1038/nn1865

Differential development of high-level visual cortex correlates with category-specific recognition memory

Golijeh Golarai1,4, Dara G Ghahremani1,2, S Whitfield-Gabrieli1,3, Allan Reiss4,5, Jennifer L Eberhardt1, John D E Gabrieli1,3 & Kalanit Grill-Spector1,5

High-level visual cortex in humans includes functionally defined regions that preferentially respond to objects, faces and places. It is unknown how these regions develop and whether their development relates to recognition memory. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the development of several functionally defined regions including object (lateral occipital complex, LOC)-, face ('fusiform face area', FFA; superior temporal sulcus, STS)- and place ('parahippocampal place area', PPA)-selective cortices in children (ages 7–11), adolescents (12–16) and adults. Right FFA and left PPA volumes were substantially larger in adults than in children. This development occurred by expansion of FFA and PPA into surrounding cortex and was correlated with improved recognition memory for faces and places, respectively. In contrast, LOC and STS volumes and object-recognition memory remained constant across ages. Thus, the ventral stream undergoes a prolonged maturation that varies temporally across functional regions, is determined by brain region rather than stimulus category, and is correlated with the development of category-specific recognition memory.

  1. Department of Psychology, Jordan Hall (Bldg. 420), Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-2130, USA.
  2. Department of Psychology, Franz Hall, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.
  3. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 46-4033, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.
  4. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, 401 Quary, Stanford, California 94305-5722, USA.
  5. Program in Neuroscience, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-2130, USA.

Correspondence to: Golijeh Golarai1,4 e-mail:


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