Structural and effective connectivity reveals potential network-based influences on category-sensitive visual areas

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Visual category perception is thought to depend on brain areas that respond specifically when certain categories are viewed. These category-sensitive areas are often assumed to be “modules” (with some degree of processing autonomy) and to act predominantly on feedforward visual input. This modular view can be complemented by a view that treats brain areas as elements within more complex networks and as influenced by network properties. This network-oriented viewpoint is emerging from studies using either diffusion tensor imaging to map structural connections or effective connectivity analyses to measure how their functional responses influence each other. This literature motivates several hypotheses that predict category-sensitive activity based on network properties. Large, long-range fiber bundles such as inferior fronto-occipital, arcuate and inferior longitudinal fasciculi are associated with behavioural recognition and could play crucial roles in conveying backward influences on visual cortex from anterior temporal and frontal areas. Such backward influences could support top-down functions such as visual search and emotion-based visual modulation. Within visual cortex itself, areas sensitive to different categories appear well-connected (e.g., face areas connect to object- and motion sensitive areas) and their responses can be predicted by backward modulation. Evidence supporting these propositions remains incomplete and underscores the need for better integration of DTI and functional imaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue number253
Early online date7 May 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2015


  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • fMRI
  • DTI
  • brain connectivity
  • dynamic causal modelling
  • object recognition
  • Face perception

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