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

Nat Neurosci. 2001 Mar;4(3):324-30. doi: 10.1038/85201.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Stereognosis / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / metabolism*