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Nat Neurosci. 2001 Mar;4(3):324-30.

Visuo-haptic object-related activation in the ventral visual pathway.

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Neurobiology Department, Life Science Institute and Center for Neural Computation, Hebrew University, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


The ventral pathway is involved in primate visual object recognition. In humans, a central stage in this pathway is an occipito-temporal region termed the lateral occipital complex (LOC), which is preferentially activated by visual objects compared to scrambled images or textures. However, objects have characteristic attributes (such as three-dimensional shape) that can be perceived both visually and haptically. Therefore, object-related brain areas may hold a representation of objects in both modalities. Using fMRI to map object-related brain regions, we found robust and consistent somatosensory activation in the occipito-temporal cortex. This region showed clear preference for objects compared to textures in both modalities. Most somatosensory object-selective voxels overlapped a part of the visual object-related region LOC. Thus, we suggest that neuronal populations in the occipito-temporal cortex may constitute a multimodal object-related network.

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