Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 10 (NIPS 1997)
Matthew Dailey, Garrison Cottrell
There is strong evidence that face processing is localized in the brain. The double dissociation between prosopagnosia, a face recognition deficit occurring after brain damage, and visual object agnosia, difficulty recognizing otber kinds of complex objects, indicates tbat face and non(cid:173) face object recognition may be served by partially independent mecha(cid:173) nisms in the brain. Is neural specialization innate or learned? We sug(cid:173) gest that this specialization could be tbe result of a competitive learn(cid:173) ing mechanism that, during development, devotes neural resources to the tasks they are best at performing. Furtber, we suggest that the specializa(cid:173) tion arises as an interaction between task requirements and developmen(cid:173) tal constraints. In this paper, we present a feed-forward computational model of visual processing, in which two modules compete to classify input stimuli. When one module receives low spatial frequency infor(cid:173) mation and the other receives high spatial frequency information, and the task is to identify the faces while simply classifying the objects, the low frequency network shows a strong specialization for faces. No otber combination of tasks and inputs shows this strong specialization. We take these results as support for the idea that an innately-specified face processing module is unnecessary.