we know that human brain becomes more and more modular during its development. We see similar places for the similar modules in the brain (probably because of the similar inputs and vasculature around these regions in many of the people). I'm just curious about an experiment in which the brain is developing (like 1 years maybe) with the classical system (so have a average human body etc.) but after that it's connected with different inputs. In this situation what do you think about the changes on the brain? I'm sure that neuroplasticity will work but can we predict how its gonna work and will change the functions of the specific brain regions?

  • $\begingroup$ Your claim is perhaps not favored by latest studies such as Haxby et al 2001 "Distributed and overlapping representations of faces and objects in ventral temporal cortex": The distinctiveness of the response to a given category was not due simply to the regions that responded maximally to that category, because the category being viewed also could be identified on the basis of the pattern of response when those regions were excluded from the analysis... These results indicate that the representations of faces and objects in ventral temporal cortex are widely distributed and overlapping. $\endgroup$
    – cinch
    Nov 9, 2022 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ @mohottnad thank you for your response, I'll check out the article more deeply! Actually, my concern is mainly on the changed-input case. In such a case (when the brain is wired to process the information from the body and specific type of modalities) can the brain changes its network when the coming input and modalities change, or just sinks to the atrophy? (I'm new to the field, so my questions can be dumb, sorry about that. ^_^) $\endgroup$
    – Elif D.
    Nov 9, 2022 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. Are you asking what would happen if we connected an animal's eyes to its auditory cortex and its ears to its visual cortex during development, that kind of thing? This sort of thing is more common with amputations, where skin and muscle that used to be in one place is effectively "moved" somewhere else, and over a period of weeks or months, the brain adjusts accordingly. Is this what you had in mind? $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Nov 12, 2022 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg I was asking exactly about this but in a more extreme conditions (such as transplanting a developed human brain to an cephalopod's body, if that's even possible). (I feel like this question is about the balance between energetical conservation and adaptative/neuroplastical investment but I don't know, maybe I'm using a non-functional perspective.) $\endgroup$
    – Elif D.
    Nov 12, 2022 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ You can modularise pretty much anything even in your conscious mind. $\endgroup$
    – Aseku Vena
    Apr 9, 2023 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


In addition to Haxby's famous 2001 paper referenced in above comment for the highly distributed and overlapping representations of faces and objects in ventral temporal cortex as a general background, Tanaka's 2003 paper referenced below could further address your particular interest about (visual) input change in the (temporal) neocortex which is the latest evolved advanced critical part of human brain compared to other animals. This is from its abstract:

Cells in the inferotemporal cortex (area TE) selectively respond to complex visual object features and those that respond to similar features cluster in a columnar region elongated vertical to the cortical surface... The enormous number of objects present in nature can be efficiently described by combining outputs of the multiple differential amplifiers in the inferotemporal cortex. The two modes may work in parallel, with a graded balance changing according to the behavioral context.

Thus the response to similar but different complex visual object features is sensitively selected by many distributed and overlapping neurons throughout an entire columnar region of the temporal lobe in cortex.

our visual system can either neglect or amplify differences in input images depending on the behavioral context. Columnar organization in the inferotemporal cortex may be crucial to mechanisms that satisfy these two apparently contradictory requirements... Based on these results, it was proposed (Logothetis, 1998) that some TE cells respond to whole objects which the subjects have used to conduct fine discriminations, while a majority of TE cells respond to features present in images of multiple different objects... The above-described invariances of TE cells suggest that they are actually more sensitive to certain types of deformations than others. The types of deformations that often occur when an object moves around appear to be more tolerated.

By recording two TE cells simultaneously with a single electrode, we found that cells located close together in the cortex had similar stimulus selectivities... In most cases, the second cell responded to the optimal and suboptimal stimuli of the first cell. The selectivities of the two cells differed slightly, however, in that the maximal response was evoked by slightly different stimuli... For example, cells in a column respond to star-like shapes, or shapes with multiple protrusions. They are similar in that they respond to star-like shapes, but they may differ in the preferred number of protrusions or the amplitude of the protrusions... If a set of stimuli that vary not only in orientation but also in all other parameters is used, cells within an orientation column will not show clear similarity in selectivity.

Clusters of cells having overlapping and slightly differing selectivities may work together to confer object recognition abilities that are invariant to viewing conditions... Representation by multiple cells with overlapping selectivities can be more precise than a mere summation of representations by individual cells. A subtle change in a particular feature, which does not markedly change the activity of individual cells, can be coded by the differences in the activities of cells with overlapping and slightly different selectivities.

From above summary it should be clear that massive concurrent overlapping and distributed neural networks at least in the temporal cortex part coordinate to both identify invariant object under different input conditions and select to discriminate any subtle difference simultaneously, which probably is much more complex than your original straightforwardly concentrated and modularized view of its underlying neural network basis.


Tanaka 2003, "Columns for Complex Visual Object Features in the Inferotemporal Cortex: Clustering of Cells with Similar but Slightly Different Stimulus Selectivities". Cerebral Cortex, Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2003, Pages 90–99.


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