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Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(2):212-22.

Does visual perception of object afford action? Evidence from a neuroimaging study.

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Mental processes and Brain activation, Inserm Unit 280, 151 Cours Albert Thomas, F-69424 Cedex 03, Lyon, France.


Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to explore the neural correlates of a potential involvement of motor representation during the perception of visually presented objects with different tasks. The main result of this study was that the perception of objects, irrespective of the task (judgement of the vertical orientation, motor imagery, and silent generation of the noun or of the corresponding action verb), versus perception of non-objects, was associated with rCBF increases in a common set of cortical regions. The occipito-temporal junction, the inferior parietal lobule, the SMA-proper, the pars triangularis in the inferior frontal gyrus, the dorsal and ventral precentral gyrus were engaged in the left hemisphere. The ipsilateral cerebellum was also involved. These activations are congruent with the idea of an involvement of motor representation already during the perception of object and thus provide neurophysiological evidence that the perception of objects automatically affords actions that can be made toward them. Besides this common set of cortical areas, each task engaged specific regions.

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