The goal of this research is to characterize the large-scale organization and emergence of object responses along the ventral stream. Cognitive systems dissociate along the animate/inanimate distinction in behavior, and neural systems reflect this distinction with a large-scale organization of animate and inanimate object responses across the cortical surface. Recently, the real-world size of objects was also shown to be a fundamental aspect of object representation, and also gives rise to a large-scale organization of big and small object information across the cortex.
The first aim will directly compare animacy and size organizations using functional neuroimaging, determining how the size and animacy organizations interact, and the relative strength of these two dimensions in neural organization. Next, the emergence of these large-scale topographies is hypothesized to arise from distinct, but non-mutually exclusive causes-network connectivity and visual experience.
The second aim [will explore the role that visual experience plays in shaping large-scale object organization] by measuring occipital-temporal cortex that has never received visual experience, in congenitally blind participants;and will compare long-range networks between groups using functional connectivity measures. The broader objectives of this project are to develop an expertise in advanced neuroimaging analyses, to understand the basic principles of brain organization, and to characterize the impact of normal and atypical experience on cortical development.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the organization and emergence of object knowledge in the neural system is a fundamental endeavor of cognitive neuroscience. This work will advance our understanding of the ways in which experience in the lifetime can modify the structure of our high-level object representation. Characterizing how differences in experience, or the lack thereof, can change how the brain processes different kinds of information is relevant and important for all individuals with visual or other sensory impairments.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Type
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
5F32EY022863-02
Application #
8685010
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F02B-M (20))
Program Officer
Agarwal, Neeraj
Project Start
2013-05-06
Project End
2016-05-05
Budget Start
2014-05-06
Budget End
2015-05-05
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$53,282
Indirect Cost
Name
Harvard University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
082359691
City
Cambridge
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02138
Cohen, Michael A; Konkle, Talia; Rhee, Juliana Y et al. (2014) Processing multiple visual objects is limited by overlap in neural channels. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:8955-60
Konkle, Talia; Caramazza, Alfonso (2013) Tripartite organization of the ventral stream by animacy and object size. J Neurosci 33:10235-42