Action-related properties shape object representations in the ventral stream

Neuron. 2007 Aug 2;55(3):507-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.07.011.


The principles driving the organization of the ventral object-processing stream remain unknown. Here, we show that stimulus-specific repetition suppression (RS) in one region of the ventral stream is biased according to motor-relevant properties of objects. Quantitative analysis confirmed that this result was not confounded with similarity in visual shape. A similar pattern of biases in RS according to motor-relevant properties of objects was observed in dorsal stream regions in the left hemisphere. These findings suggest that neural specificity for "tools" in the ventral stream is driven by similarity metrics computed over motor-relevant information represented in dorsal structures. Support for this view is provided by converging results from functional connectivity analyses of the fMRI data and a separate neuropsychological study. More generally, these data suggest that a basic organizing principle giving rise to "category specificity" in the ventral stream may involve similarity metrics computed over information represented elsewhere in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Tool Use Behavior / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*