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Topographically organized category dissociations in human ventral temporal cortex are associated with differential patterns of intrinsic functional connectivity

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • M.H. Tessler
  • W.D. Stevens
  • A. Martin


The topographical organization of object category-related regions in human ventral temporal cortex (VTC) is remarkably consistent across individuals. Differential task-related responses to different object categories (e.g., tools, animals, faces, scenes) across VTC have been shown using fMRI. The determinants of this consistent category-related organization, however, are largely unknown. One possible account is that it is driven, in part, by preferential connectivity of these VTC regions with other distributed cortical regions critical for processing category-relevant properties (Martin, 2006; Mahon & Caramazza, 2011). To test this hypothesis, we used fMRI and a multi-category functional localizer to identify regions of VTC showing dissociable responses to different categories of stimuli (e.g, tools, animals, faces, scenes) in healthy young adults. We used these subject-unique regions of interest (ROIs) as seeds in whole-brain and ROI-based “resting-state” correlation (“functional connectivity”: FC) analyses. Results demonstrate that across participants, differential category-related task activations in VTC are associated with differential FC of these regions with other distributed cortical regions implicated in processing category-relevant properties. These results are consistent with the idea that the topographical organization of category-specialized regions in VTC depends, to some extent, on functionally specialized connectivity with other domain relevant regions of the brain.

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