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The Organisational Principles of the Visual Ventral Stream
Sponsored by the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS)
Sep 23, 2019, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit,
15 Chaucer Rd, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK


Questions such as how the human brain represents objects, faces and words, how this develops over the lifespan, and what happens when this process is disrupted by brain injury have remained a fundamental focus in cognitive neuroscience for decades. Interest in this question comes from neuropsychological investigations of patients with selective damage in the ventral stream, which suggested that damage to the occipito-temporal region in the right or left hemisphere results in a selective deficit for recognising faces and whole word reading, respectively. The advent of neuroimaging studies in healthy participants provided converging evidence from this early patient work and revealed a patchwork of regions along the length of the ventral visual stream which selectively responded to particular object categories.

Despite these findings becoming “text-book knowledge” in cognitive neuroscience, the principles underlying such organisation, or indeed whether such organisation reflects category membership or other basic lower-level visual factors still remains an open question. This coupled with the development of new analysis techniques in neuroimaging (including multivariate pattern analysis), and movement away from single case studies, to large-scale case series analyses in patient populations means that this remains an exciting area of research. 

This workshop will bring together researchers who are studying the organisation of the visual ventral stream from different methodological perspectives, not only to promote discussion between these established groups, but also to promote collaboration with a wider audience. We hope this interaction will benefit the development and promotion of the use of multiple, convergent research methodologies to answering this fundamental question in cognitive neuroscience.




9:00am - 9:15am

Welcome and introduction

9.15am – 10.15am

Introductory Keynote:

Principles of hemispheric (re)organisation.

Marlene Behrmann (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA)

10.15am – 10.45am

Coffee Break


Session 1 - Neuropsychology: What can patients tell us about category organisation?

10.45am - 11.15am

Faces and words: visual expertise in the fusiform gyrus and the role of hemispheric specialisation in function.

Jason Barton (University of British Columbia, Canada)

11.15am - 11.45am

The Back of the Brain project: A new approach to cerebral localisation of perceptual functions.

Randi Starrfelt (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

11.45am – 12.15pm

Behavioural profiles of higher-level vision following posterior cerebral artery stroke.

Grace Rice (University of Cambridge, UK)

12:15pm - 1:30pm



Session 2 - Neuroimaging and neurostimulation: How are objects, faces and words represented in the healthy brain?

1.30pm – 2.00pm

Can image properties predict patterns of neural response to natural objects in the visual ventral stream?

Tim Andrews (University of York, UK)

2.00pm – 2.30pm

Understanding face categorisation with intracerebral recording and stimulation in the human ventral occipito-temporal cortex.

Jacques Jonas (University of Lorraine, France)

2.30pm – 3.00pm

Tea Break


Session 3 - Computational modelling approaches to category organisation

3.00pm - 3.30pm

Inter-individual differences among deep neural network models.

Tim Kietzmann (University of Cambridge, UK)

3.30pm – 4:00pm

Cortical organisation as optimisation

David Plaut (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA)

4.00pm – 5.00pm


5pm - 6pm

Drinks Reception

Poster Session

Attending the Conference


Getting Here

The MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit is located at 15 Chaucer Road. We are at the end of a quiet residential street off Trumpington Road (A1134), one of the main roads in and out of Cambridge. We are only 1 mile from Cambridge city centre, Cambridge train station and the University. Addenbrookes hospital is 2 miles away. Please note there is only limited parking available at the Unit. 

Organising committee

Grace Rice

University of Cambridge, UK

Randi Starrfelt

University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Our Sponsors

Working Together


Experimental Psychological Society

The Experimental Psychological Society are the majority funders of this workshop. We thank them for their support.

The Danish Research Council

The workshop organisers are all involved in the Back of the Brain (BoB) project which is funded by the Danish Research Council.

Get in Touch

15 Chaucer Rd, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK

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