Discrete Cortical Regions Associated with Knowledge of Color and Knowledge of Action

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Science  06 Oct 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5233, pp. 102-105
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5233.102


The areas of the brain that mediate knowledge about objects were investigated by measuring changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) using positron emission tomography (PET). Subjects generated words denoting colors and actions associated with static, achromatic line drawings of objects in one experiment, and with the written names of objects in a second experiment. In both studies, generation of color words selectively activated a region in the ventral temporal lobe just anterior to the area involved in the perception of color, whereas generation of action words activated a region in the middle temporal gyrus just anterior to the area involved in the perception of motion. These data suggest that object knowledge is organized as a distributed system in which the attributes of an object are stored close to the regions of the cortex that mediate perception of those attributes.