In our daily lives, recognizing a familiar object is an effortless and seemingly instantaneous process. Our knowledge of how the brain accomplished this formidable task, however, is quite limited. The present study takes a holistic approach to examining the neural processes that underlie recognition memory. A unique paradigm, in which visual information about the identity of a person or word is slowly titrated to human observers during a functional imaging session, is employed to uncover the dynamics of the visual recognition in the brain. The results of study reveal multiple unique stages in visual recognition that can be dissociated from one another based on temporal asynchronies and hemodynamic response characteristics.