Object shape processing in the visual system evaluated using functional MRI

Michael Kraut, John Hart, Brian J. Soher, Barry Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


We used functional MRI (fMRI) to determine the cortical regions activated during processing of visual object shape in humans in six men and three women, using a paradigm with a baseline condition of simple shape detection and an activated condition of object/nonobject shape discrimination. Eight of the nine subjects studied showed significant signal changes. Seven of eight showed changes in the occipital lobes (five bilateral, two right only, one left only). All eight subjects with signal changes exhibited changes in the parietal lobes bilaterally. In the occipitotemporal gyri, there were signal changes bilaterally in seven subjects and unilaterally, on the right, in one. Activation-related fMRI signal increases were also present in the posterior superior and middle temporal gyri in seven of the subjects, with four showing bilateral signal changes, two showing signal changes on the left only, and one only on the right. The data strongly suggest that processing of object shape information in humans activates both the ventral and dorsal visual processing pathways ('what' and 'where' pathways), described previously both in humans and in nonhuman primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1416-1420
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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