Two hierarchically organized neural systems for object information in human visual cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2008 Feb;11(2):224-31. doi: 10.1038/nn2036. Epub 2008 Jan 13.


The primate visual system is broadly organized into two segregated processing pathways, a ventral stream for object vision and a dorsal stream for space vision. Here, evidence from functional brain imaging in humans demonstrates that object representations are not confined to the ventral pathway, but can also be found in several areas along the dorsal pathway. In both streams, areas at intermediate processing stages in extrastriate cortex (V4, V3A, MT and V7) showed object-selective but viewpoint- and size-specific responses. In contrast, higher-order areas in lateral occipital and posterior parietal cortex (LOC, IPS1 and IPS2) responded selectively to objects independent of image transformations. Contrary to the two-pathways hypothesis, our findings indicate that basic object information related to shape, size and viewpoint may be represented similarly in two parallel and hierarchically organized neural systems in the ventral and dorsal visual pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / blood supply
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / blood supply
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*


  • Oxygen