Exploring commonalities across participants in the neural representation of objects



The question of whether the neural encodings of objects are similar across different people is one of the key questions in cognitive neuroscience. This article examines the commonalities in the internal representation of objects, as measured with fMRI, across individuals in two complementary ways. First, we examine the commonalities in the internal representation of objects across people at the level of interobject distances, derived from whole brain fMRI data, and second, at the level of spatially localized anatomical brain regions that contain sufficient information for identification of object categories, without making the assumption that their voxel patterns are spatially matched in a common space. We examine the commonalities in internal representation of objects on 3T fMRI data collected while participants viewed line drawings depicting various tools and dwellings. This exploratory study revealed the extent to which the representation of individual concepts, and their mutual similarity, is shared across participants. Hum Brain Mapp, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.