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      Does the human dorsal stream really process a category for tools?

      The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

      physiology, Young Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, methods, Reaction Time, Recognition (Psychology), Visual Cortex, Visual Perception, Adult, Attention

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          Previously, Almeida et al. (2008) used a technique called Continuous Flash Suppression to show that human dorsal stream cortical areas specifically responded to a "tool category." Here, we used the same technique to clarify what attributes of tools are processed in the dorsal stream. We examined surface attributes and shape. A significant priming effect was found when we removed surface attributes by using line drawings instead of photographs. In a second experiment, we manipulated shape and we found that there were no significant priming effects when we used nonelongated tool pictures as tool prime stimuli. To better clarify the effect of shape attributes on priming effects, we conducted a further experiment using elongated stick-like rectangles as prime stimuli and found that elongated shapes significantly shortened the reaction time to the tool pictures as target stimuli. Additionally, when elongated vegetables were used as prime stimuli, the reaction time to the tool pictures as target stimuli was also significantly shortened, but there was no effect when stubby vegetables were used. Finally, when we controlled for orientation by presenting rotated elongated stick-like rectangles, diamond shapes, and cut circles as prime stimuli, we found that rectangles replicated the same significant priming effect as previous experiments, but the others did not. These results suggest that the dorsal stream processes elongated shapes but does not process the tool category specifically.

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