Using fMRI brain activation to identify cognitive states associated with perception of tools and dwellings

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Abstract

Previous studies have succeeded in identifying the cognitive state corresponding to the perception of a set of depicted categories, such as tools, by analyzing the accompanying pattern of brain activity, measured with fMRI. The current research focused on identifying the cognitive state associated with a 4s viewing of an individual line drawing (1 of 10 familiar objects, 5 tools and 5 dwellings, such as a hammer or a castle). Here we demonstrate the ability to reliably (1) identify which of the 10 drawings a participant was viewing, based on that participant's characteristic whole-brain neural activation patterns, excluding visual areas; (2) identify the category of the object with even higher accuracy, based on that participant's activation; and (3) identify, for the first time, both individual objects and the category of the object the participant was viewing, based only on other participants' activation patterns. The voxels important for category identification were located similarly across participants, and distributed throughout the cortex, focused in ventral temporal perceptual areas but also including more frontal association areas and somewhat left-lateralized). These findings indicate the presence of stable, distributed, communal, and identifiable neural states corresponding to object concepts. © 2008 Shinkareva et al.

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Shinkareva, S. V., Mason, R. A., Malave, V. L., Wang, W., Mitchell, T. M., & Just, M. A. (2008). Using fMRI brain activation to identify cognitive states associated with perception of tools and dwellings. PLoS ONE, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001394

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