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Only some spatial patterns of fMRI response are read out in task performance


Classification methods show that the spatial pattern of a functional magnetic resonance imaging response across the cortex contains category information, but whether such patterns are used, or 'read out', in behavioral performance remains untested. We show that although the spatial pattern in both the retinotopic and lateral occipital cortex (LOC) in humans contains category information, only in the LOC is the pattern stronger for correct than for incorrect trials. Thus, some, but not all, spatial patterns are read out during task performance.

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Figure 1: Mean correlations (± 1 s.e.m.) same and different categories for correct and incorrect trials in four ROIs.


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We thank C. Baker, D. Dilks, H. Op De Beeck, J. Haushofer, A. Rich, R. Saxe, B. Schwarzlose, E. Vul and U. Zohary for their comments and suggestions on this work. M.A.W. was supported by a grant from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (C.J. Martin Fellowship). This work was supported by a grant from US National Institutes of Health to N.G.K (grant 13455).

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Correspondence to Mark A Williams.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Fig. 1

A single exemplar from each stimulus of the three categories. (PDF 84 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 2

Behavioral performance: mean percent correct for the three stimulus categories. (PDF 46 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 3

Mean percent signal change for the two categories for correct and incorrect trials in the retinotopic cortex and lateral occipital complex. (PDF 126 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 4

Mean correlations for the same and different categories in the LOC when equal numbers of correct and incorrect trials were used in the analysis by removing a random subset of correct trials. (PDF 47 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 5

Mean correlations for same and different categories for correct and incorrect trials in the lateral occipital complex, after the number of voxels in the LOC was equated to that of the FFA by increasing the statistical threshold of the LOC localizer resulting in a contiguous ROI with equal number of voxels. (PDF 64 kb)

Supplementary Methods (PDF 44 kb)

Supplementary References (PDF 44 kb)

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Williams, M., Dang, S. & Kanwisher, N. Only some spatial patterns of fMRI response are read out in task performance. Nat Neurosci 10, 685–686 (2007).

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