Article: article from journal or magazin.
Automatic top-down processing explains common left occipito-temporal responses to visual words and objects.
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't Publication Status: ppublish
Previous studies have demonstrated that a region in the left ventral occipito-temporal (LvOT) cortex is highly selective to the visual forms of written words and objects relative to closely matched visual stimuli. Here, we investigated why LvOT activation is not higher for reading than picture naming even though written words and pictures of objects have grossly different visual forms. To compare neuronal responses for words and pictures within the same LvOT area, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging adaptation and instructed participants to name target stimuli that followed briefly presented masked primes that were either presented in the same stimulus type as the target (word-word, picture-picture) or a different stimulus type (picture-word, word-picture). We found that activation throughout posterior and anterior parts of LvOT was reduced when the prime had the same name/response as the target irrespective of whether the prime-target relationship was within or between stimulus type. As posterior LvOT is a visual form processing area, and there was no visual form similarity between different stimulus types, we suggest that our results indicate automatic top-down influences from pictures to words and words to pictures. This novel perspective motivates further investigation of the functional properties of this intriguing region.
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