Interaction with everyday objects requires the representation of conceptual object properties, such as where and how an object is used. What are the neural mechanisms that support this knowledge? While research on semantic dementia has provided evidence for a critical role of the anterior temporal lobes (ATLs) in object knowledge, fMRI studies using univariate analysis have primarily implicated regions outside the ATL. In the present human fMRI study we used multivoxel pattern analysis to test whether activity patterns in ATLs carry information about conceptual object properties. Participants viewed objects that differed on two dimensions: where the object is typically found (in the kitchen or the garage) and how the object is commonly used (with a rotate or a squeeze movement). Anatomical region-of-interest analyses covering the ventral visual stream revealed that information about the location and action dimensions increased from posterior to anterior ventral temporal cortex, peaking in the temporal pole. Whole-brain multivoxel searchlight analysis confirmed these results, revealing highly significant and regionally specific information about the location and action dimensions in the anterior temporal lobes bilaterally. In contrast to conceptual object properties, perceptual and low-level visual properties of the objects were reflected in activity patterns in posterior lateral occipitotemporal cortex and occipital cortex, respectively. These results provide fMRI evidence that object representations in the anterior temporal lobes are abstracted away from perceptual properties, categorizing objects in semantically meaningful groups to support conceptual object knowledge.

Conceptual object representations in human anterior temporal cortex

Peelen, Marius Vincent;Caramazza, Alfonso
2012

Abstract

Interaction with everyday objects requires the representation of conceptual object properties, such as where and how an object is used. What are the neural mechanisms that support this knowledge? While research on semantic dementia has provided evidence for a critical role of the anterior temporal lobes (ATLs) in object knowledge, fMRI studies using univariate analysis have primarily implicated regions outside the ATL. In the present human fMRI study we used multivoxel pattern analysis to test whether activity patterns in ATLs carry information about conceptual object properties. Participants viewed objects that differed on two dimensions: where the object is typically found (in the kitchen or the garage) and how the object is commonly used (with a rotate or a squeeze movement). Anatomical region-of-interest analyses covering the ventral visual stream revealed that information about the location and action dimensions increased from posterior to anterior ventral temporal cortex, peaking in the temporal pole. Whole-brain multivoxel searchlight analysis confirmed these results, revealing highly significant and regionally specific information about the location and action dimensions in the anterior temporal lobes bilaterally. In contrast to conceptual object properties, perceptual and low-level visual properties of the objects were reflected in activity patterns in posterior lateral occipitotemporal cortex and occipital cortex, respectively. These results provide fMRI evidence that object representations in the anterior temporal lobes are abstracted away from perceptual properties, categorizing objects in semantically meaningful groups to support conceptual object knowledge.
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Peelen, Marius Vincent; Caramazza, Alfonso
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/33069
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