Journal of Neuroscience
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In the macaque monkey brain, posterior inferior temporal (PIT) cortex cells contribute to visual object recognition. They receive concurrent inputs from visual areas V4, V3, and V2. We asked how these different anatomical pathways shape PIT response properties by deactivating them while monitoring PIT activity in two male macaques. We found that cooling of V4 or V2|3 did not lead to consistent changes in population excitatory drive; however, population pattern analyses showed that V4-based pathways were more important than V2|3-based pathways.Wedid not find any image features that predicted decoding accuracy differences between both interventions. Using the HMAX hierarchical model of visual recognition, we found that different groups of simulated “PIT” units with different input histories (lacking “V2|3" or “V4" input) allowed for comparable levels of object-decoding performance and that removing a large fraction of “PIT” activity resulted in similar drops in performance as in the cooling experiments. We conclude that distinct input pathways to PIT relay similar types of shape information, with V1-dependent V4 cells providing more quantitatively useful information for overall encoding than cells in V2 projecting directly to PIT.