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Perceptual ExpertiseBridging Brain and Behavior$
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Isabel Gauthier, Michael Tarr, and Daniel Bub

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309607.001.0001

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Objects of Expertise

Objects of Expertise

(p.41) 2 Objects of Expertise
Perceptual Expertise

David L. Sheinberg

Michael J. Tarr

Oxford University Press

Faces are often studied separately from objects because face recognition is one of the most extreme tasks our visual system can support, and because faces provide a convenient, complex stimulus category that can be used to probe questions about object processing and recognition. However, this approach may exaggerate the degree of cognitive and neural specificity for faces, and studies that compare faces with nonface objects do not always control for experiential differences between the stimuli. Indeed, behavioral and neural markers of “face-like” expertise have been observed for other domains of real-world expertise (e.g. dogs, cars) and in lab-trained experts. Importantly, expertise is a continuous dimension, where faces may lie at one extreme because of our extensive experience with them that begins very early in development. Thus while faces may show larger behavioral effects or greater neural activity, such quantitative differences should not necessarily be interpreted as evidence for exclusivity.

Keywords:   face recognition, object recognition, expertise, fFA, n170

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