Closely overlapping responses to tools and hands in left lateral occipitotemporal cortex


Bracci S, Cavina-Pratesi C, Ietswaart M, Caramazza A & Peelen MV (2012) Closely overlapping responses to tools and hands in left lateral occipitotemporal cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology, 107 (5), pp. 1443-1446.

The perception of object-directed actions performed by either hands or tools recruits regions in left fronto-parietal cortex. Here, using functional MRI (fMRI), we tested whether the common role of hands and tools in object manipulation is also reflected in the distribution of response patterns to these categories in visual cortex. In two experiments we found that static pictures of hands and tools activated closely overlapping regions in left lateral occipitotemporal cortex (LOTC). Left LOTC responses to tools selectively overlapped with responses to hands but not with responses to whole bodies, nonhand body parts, other objects, or visual motion. Multivoxel pattern analysis in left LOTC indicated a high degree of similarity between response patterns to hands and tools but not between hands or tools and other body parts. Finally, functional connectivity analysis showed that the left LOTC hand/tool region was selectively connected, relative to neighboring body-, motion-, and object-responsive regions, with regions in left intraparietal sulcus and left premotor cortex that have previously been implicated in hand/tool action-related processing. Taken together, these results suggest that action-related object properties shared by hands and tools are reflected in the organization of high-order visual cortex. We propose that the functional organization of high-order visual cortex partly reflects the organization of downstream functional networks, such as the fronto-parietal action network, due to differences within visual cortex in the connectivity to these networks.

action perception; functional connectivity; visual cortex; ventral stream

Journal of Neurophysiology: Volume 107, Issue 5

Publication date31/03/2012
PublisherAmerican Physiological Society