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Our understanding of the mechanisms and neural substrates underlying visual recognition has made considerable progress over the past 30 years. During this period, accumulating evidence has led many scientists to conclude that objects and faces are recognised in fundamentally distinct ways, and in fundamentally distinct cortical areas. In the psychological literature, in particular, this dissociation has led to a palpable disconnect between theories of how we process and represent the two classes of object. My talk follows a trend in part of the recognition literature to try to reconcile what we know about these two forms of recognition by considering the effects of learning. Taking a widely accepted, unsupervised network model of object recognition, I will describe how such a system is affected by repeated exposure to specific stimulus classes. In so doing, I will explain how many aspects of recognition generally regarded as unusual to faces (holistic processing, configural processing, sensitivity to inversion, the other-race effect, the prototype effect, etc.) are emergent properties of category-specific learning within such a system. Overall, I will describe how a single model of recognition learning can and does produce the seemingly very different types of representation associated with faces and objects.

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