Journal of Neuroscience vol:20 issue:9 pages:3310-8
The studies described here use functional magnetic resonance imaging to test whether common or distinct cognitive and/or neural mechanisms are involved in extracting object structure from the different image cues defining an object's shape, such as contours, shading, and monocular depth cues. We found overlapping activations in the lateral and ventral occipital cortex [known as the lateral occipital complex (LOC)] for objects defined by different visual cues (e.g., grayscale photographs and line drawings) when each was compared with its own scrambled-object control. In a second experiment we found a reduced response when objects were repeated, independent of whether they appeared in the same or a different format (i.e., grayscale images vs line drawings). A third experiment showed that activation in the LOC was no stronger for three-dimensional shapes defined by contours or monocular depth cues, such as occlusion, than for two-dimensional shapes, suggesting that these regions are not selectively involved in processing three-dimensional shape information. These results suggest that common regions in the LOC are involved in extracting and/or representing information about object structure from different image cues.