The cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying category-specific knowledge remain controversial. Here we report that, across multiple tasks (viewing, delayed match to sample, naming), pictures of animals and tools were associated with highly consistent, category-related patterns of activation in ventral (fusiform gyrus) and lateral (superior and middle temporal gyri) regions of the posterior temporal lobes. In addition, similar patterns of category-related activity occurred when subjects read the names of, and answered questions about, animals and tools. These findings suggest that semantic object information is represented in distributed networks that include sites for storing information about specific object attributes such as form (ventral temporal cortex) and motion (lateral temporal cortex).
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