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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

January 1, 2001, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 90-101
(doi: 10.1162/089892901564199)
© 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Speed of Sight
Article PDF (686.38 KB)

Macaque monkeys were presented with continuous rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) sequences of unrelated naturalistic images at rates of 14-222 msec/image, while neurons that responded selectively to complex patterns (e.g., faces) were recorded in temporal cortex. Stimulus selectivity was preserved for 65% of these neurons even at surprisingly fast presentation rates (14 msec/image or 72 images/sec). Five human subjects were asked to detect or remember images under equivalent conditions. Their performance in both tasks was above chance at all rates (14-111 msec/image). The performance of single neurons was comparable to that of humans and responded in a similar way to changes in presentation rate. The implications for the role of temporal cortex cells in perception are discussed.