Distinct and distributed functional connectivity patterns across cortex reflect the domain-specific constraints of object, face, scene, body, and tool category-selective modules in the ventral visual pathway

Neuroimage. 2014 Aug 1;96:216-36. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.03.068. Epub 2014 Mar 31.


Primate occipitotemporal cortex (OTC) is composed of a mosaic of highly specialized brain regions each involved in the high-level visual analysis and recognition of particular stimulus categories (e.g., objects, faces, scenes, bodies and tools). Whereas theories attempting to account for this modular organization of category-selective responses in OTC have largely focused on visually driven, bottom-up inputs to OTC (e.g., dimensions related to the visual structure of the world and how it is experienced), other proposals have instead focused on the connectivity of OTC's outputs, emphasizing how the information processed by different OTC regions might be used by the rest of the brain. The latter proposals underscore the importance of interpreting the activity (and selectivity) of individual OTC areas within the greater context of the widely distributed network of areas in which they are embedded and that use OTC information to support behavior. Here, using resting-state fMRI, we investigated the functional connectivity (FC) patterns of OTC regions associated with object-, face-, scene-, body- and tool-related processing defined from task-based localizers acquired in the same cohort of participants. We observed notable differences in the whole-brain FC patterns, not only across OTC regions, but even between areas thought to form part of the same category-selective network. Furthermore, we found that the neuroanatomical location of OTC regions (e.g., adjacency) had little, if any, bearing on the FC networks observed. FC between certain OTC areas and other regions traditionally implicated in sensory-, motor-, affective- and/or cognitive-related processing and the associated theoretical implications is discussed.

Keywords: Bodies; Faces; Functional connectivity; Scenes; Tools; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Female
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Occipital Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*