Previously several functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies point toward the role of perceptual expectations in determining adaptation or repetition suppression (RS) in humans. These studies showed that the probability of repetitions of faces within a block influences the magnitude of adaptation in face-related areas of the human brain (Summerfield et al., 2008). However, a current macaque single-cell/local field potential (LFP) recording study using objects as stimuli found no evidence for the modulation of the neural response by the repetition probability in the inferior temporal cortex (Kaliukhovich and Vogels, 2010). Here we examined whether stimulus repetition probability affects fMRI repetition suppression for nonface object stimuli in the human brain. Subjects were exposed to either two identical [repetition trials (RTs)] or two different [alternation trials (ATs)] object stimuli. Both types of trials were presented blocks consisting of either 75% [repetition blocks (RBs)] or 25% [alternation blocks (ABs)] of RTs. We found strong RS, i.e., a lower signal for RTs compared to ATs, in the object sensitive lateral occipital cortex as well as in the face-sensitive occipital and fusiform face areas. More importantly, however, there was no significant difference in the magnitude of RS between RBs and ABs in each of the areas. This is in agreement with the previous monkey single-unit/LFP findings and suggests that RS in the case of nonface visual objects is not modulated by the repetition probability in humans. Our results imply that perceptual expectation effects vary for different visual stimulus categories.
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