A systematic exploration of perceptual and semantic differences in category-specific object-processing using magnetoencephalography

Gilbert, J.R. (2010). A systematic exploration of perceptual and semantic differences in category-specific object-processing using magnetoencephalography. PHD thesis, Aston University.

Abstract

In a series of experiments, we tested category-specific activation in normal parti¬cipants using magnetoencephalography (MEG). Our experiments explored the temporal processing of objects, as MEG characterises neural activity on the order of milliseconds. Our experiments explored object-processing, including assessing the time-course of ob¬ject naming, early differences in processing living compared with nonliving objects and processing objects at the basic compared with the domain level, and late differences in processing living compared with nonliving objects and processing objects at the basic compared with the domain level. In addition to studies using normal participants, we also utilised MEG to explore category-specific processing in a patient with a deficit for living objects. Our findings support the cascade model of object naming (Humphreys et al., 1988). In addition, our findings using normal participants demonstrate early, category-specific perceptual differences. These findings are corroborated by our patient study. In our assessment of the time-course of category-specific effects as well as a separate analysis designed to measure semantic differences between living and nonliving objects, we found support for the sensory/motor model of object naming (Martin, 1998), in addition to support for the cascade model of object naming. Thus, object processing in normal participants appears to be served by a distributed network in the brain, and there are both perceptual and semantic differences between living and nonliving objects. A separate study assessing the influence of the level at which you are asked to identify an object on processing in the brain found evidence supporting the convergence zone hypothesis (Damasio, 1989). Taken together, these findings indicate the utility of MEG in exploring the time-course of object processing, isolating early perceptual and later semantic effects within the brain.

Divisions: Life & Health Sciences
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: magnetoencephalography,category-specific deficits,semantic system,object processing,picture naming
Completed Date: 2010-02
Authors: Gilbert, J.R.

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