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Durham University


From Perception to Action

In this area of research, members of our research group measure either brain activation using functional MRI or spatiotemporal coordinates using kinematic devices while subjects (healthy controls and patients with brain lesions) engage in simple visuomotor tasks. Subjects are asked to perform real actions such as reaching, pointing and grasping toward three-dimensional objects. Our results so far suggest that the parietal lobe is indeed involved in the visuomotor transformations necessary to perform visually guided actions. In addition, recent evidence suggest that the parietal cortex operates in a function-specific, rather than effector-specific, manner with different sub-portions of its mantle devoted to guiding actions according to their specific end-goal (reaching, grasping or gazing), rather than according to the effector used to perform them (leg, arm, hand or eyes). In addition, we investigate how visual features such as colour, shape and texture has separate representations in the occipito-temporal cortex, present experiments focus on the representation of actual object category such as tools and single body parts (hands). We recently found overlapping representations for recognizing two very different types of objects: hands and tool in the lateral occipito-temporal cortex of humans. Given their differences in appearance (shape, colour and texture) and domain (natural and man-made stimuli, respectively), overlapping representations for hand and tools challenges the main organizational principles put forward for extrastriate visual cortices