Categorization and category effects in normal object recognition: a PET study.


To investigate the neural correlates of the structural and semantic stages of visual object recognition and to see whether any effects of category could be found at these stages, we compared the rCBF associated with two categorization tasks (subjects decided whether pictures represented artefacts or natural objects), and two object decision tasks (subjects decided whether pictures represented real objects or nonobjects). The categorization tasks differed from each other in that the items presented in the critical scan window were drawn primarily from the category of artefacts in the one task and from the category of natural objects in the other. The same was true for the object decision tasks. The experiment thus comprised a two-by-two factorial design. The factors were Task Type with two levels (object decision vs. categorization) and Category also with two levels (natural objects vs. artefacts). The object decision tasks were associated with activation of areas involved in structural processing (fusiform gyri, right inferior frontal gyrus). In contrast, the categorization tasks were associated with activation of the left inferior temporal gyrus, a structure believed to be involved in semantic processing. In addition, activation of the left premotor cortex was found during the categorization of artefacts compared with both the categorization of natural objects and object decision to artefacts. These findings suggest that the structural and semantic stages are dissociable and that the categorization of artefacts, as opposed to the categorization of natural objects, is based, in part, on action knowledge mediated by the left premotor cortex. However, because artefacts and natural objects often caused activation in the same regions within tasks, processing of these categories is not totally segregated. Rather, the categories differ in their weight on different forms of knowledge in particular tasks.

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@article{Gerlach2000CategorizationAC, title={Categorization and category effects in normal object recognition: a PET study.}, author={Christian Gerlach and Ian Law and Anders Gade and Olaf B. Paulson}, journal={Neuropsychologia}, year={2000}, volume={38 13}, pages={1693-703} }