Task- and domain-specific modulation of functional connectivity in the ventral and dorsal object-processing pathways
A whole-brain network of regions collectively supports the ability to recognize and use objects—the Tool Processing Network. Little is known about how functional interactions within the Tool Processing Network are modulated in a task-dependent manner. We designed an fMRI experiment in which participants were required to either generate object pantomimes or to carry out a picture matching task over the same images of tools, while holding all aspects of stimulus presentation constant across the tasks. The Tool Processing Network was defined with an independent functional localizer, and functional connectivity within the network was measured during the pantomime and picture matching tasks. Relative to tool picture matching, tool pantomiming led to an increase in functional connectivity between ventral stream regions and left parietal and frontal-motor areas; in contrast, the matching task was associated with an increase in functional connectivity among regions in ventral temporo-occipital cortex, and between ventral temporal regions and the left inferior parietal lobule. Graph-theory analyses over the functional connectivity data indicated that the left premotor cortex and left lateral occipital complex were hub-like (exhibited high betweenness centrality) during tool pantomiming, while ventral stream regions (left medial fusiform gyrus and left posterior middle temporal gyrus) were hub-like during the picture matching task. These results demonstrate task-specific modulation of functional interactions among a common set of regions, and indicate dynamic coupling of anatomically remote regions in task-dependent manner.
KeywordsFunctional MRI Functional connectivity Manipulable objects Dorsal stream Ventral stream Tool pantomiming Tool identification
This research was supported by NIH Grant R01 NSO89069 and NSF Grant BCS-1349042 to BZM, and by a University of Rochester Center for Visual Science predoctoral training fellowship (NIH training Grant 5T32EY007125-24) to FEG. Preparation of the ms was supported, in part, by a Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute postdoctoral training fellowship (NIH 5T32HD071844-05) to F.E.G. RV was supported by an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Grant to DAN at the Rochester Institute of Technology (1358583); DAN was also supported by NSF Grant 1019532.
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