Representation of Perceived Object Shape by the Human Lateral Occipital Complex

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Science  24 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5534, pp. 1506-1509
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061133

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The human lateral occipital complex (LOC) has been implicated in object recognition, but it is unknown whether this region represents low-level image features or perceived object shape. We used an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging adaptation paradigm in which the response to pairs of successively presented stimuli is lower when they are identical than when they are different. Adaptation across a change between the two stimuli in a pair provides evidence for a common neural representation invariant to that change. We found adaptation in the LOC when perceived shape was identical but contours differed, but not when contours were identical but perceived shape differed. These data indicate that the LOC represents not simple image features, but rather higher level shape information.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany. E-mail: zoe.kourtzi{at}

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