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Neuroimage. 2013 Jul 15;75:228-237. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.02.073. Epub 2013 Mar 16.

Differential connectivity within the Parahippocampal Place Area.

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Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. Electronic address:
Beckman Institute and Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Department of Computer Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.


The Parahippocampal Place Area (PPA) has traditionally been considered a homogeneous region of interest, but recent evidence from both human studies and animal models has suggested that PPA may be composed of functionally distinct subunits. To investigate this hypothesis, we utilize a functional connectivity measure for fMRI that can estimate connectivity differences at the voxel level. Applying this method to whole-brain data from two experiments, we provide the first direct evidence that anterior and posterior PPA exhibit distinct connectivity patterns, with anterior PPA more strongly connected to regions in the default mode network (including the parieto-medial temporal pathway) and posterior PPA more strongly connected to occipital visual regions. We show that object sensitivity in PPA also has an anterior-posterior gradient, with stronger responses to abstract objects in posterior PPA. These findings cast doubt on the traditional view of PPA as a single coherent region, and suggest that PPA is composed of one subregion specialized for the processing of low-level visual features and object shape, and a separate subregion more involved in memory and scene context.

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