• extrastriate visual cortex;
  • human;
  • modularity;
  • rotation invariance;
  • state-dependent transcranial magnetic stimulation


The human extrastriate visual cortex contains functionally distinct regions where neuronal populations exhibit signals that are selective for objects. How such regions might play a causal role in underpinning our ability to recognize objects across different viewpoints remains uncertain. Here, we tested whether two extrastriate areas, the lateral occipital (LO) region and occipital face area (OFA), contained neuronal populations that play a causal role in recognizing two-dimensional shapes across different rotations. We used visual priming to modulate the rotation-sensitive activity of neuronal populations in these areas. State-dependent transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied after the presentation of a shape and immediately before a subsequent probe shape to which participants had to respond. We found that TMS applied to both the LO region and OFA modulated rotation-invariant shape priming but, whereas the LO region was modulated by TMS for small rotations, the OFA was modulated for larger rotations. Importantly, our results demonstrate that a node in the face-sensitive network, the OFA, participates in causally relevant encoding of non-face stimuli.