The role of action knowledge in the comprehension of artefacts--a PET study
Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
Pattern Recognition, Visual
Regional Blood Flow
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Activation of the left ventral premotor cortex (PMv) has in previous imaging studies been associated with the processing of visually presented artefacts. It has been suggested that this activation reflects processing of action knowledge and that action knowledge contributes to the comprehension of artefacts. The purpose of the present study was to test whether activation of the left PMv is common for all tasks involving the comprehension of artefacts or whether it is task specific. This was done by comparing performance and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) associated with two categorization tasks and two naming tasks divided by category (natural objects vs artefacts). The left PMv (BA 6/44) was more activated by the categorization task for artefacts than by the categorization task for natural objects and the naming task for artefacts. However, the left PMv was not associated with the contrast between the naming task for artefacts and the naming task for natural objects nor with the processing of artefacts in general. If the PMv does mediate action knowledge, these results suggest that action knowledge does not contribute directly to the comprehension of artefacts but may support the categorization of artefacts. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to category-specific recognition impairments for artefacts.