Representation of motion concepts in occipitotemporal cortex: fMRI activation, decoding and connectivity analyses

Yueyang Zhang, Rafael Lemarchand, Aliff Aysraff, Paul Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Embodied theories of semantic cognition predict that brain regions involved in motion perception are engaged when people comprehend motion concepts expressed in language. Left lateral occipitotemporal cortex (LOTC) is implicated in both motion perception and motion concept processing but prior studies have produced mixed findings on which parts of this region are engaged by motion language. We scanned participants performing semantic judgements about sentences describing motion events and static events. We performed univariate analyses, multivariate pattern analyses (MVPA) and psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analyses to investigate the effect of motion on activity and connectivity in different parts of LOTC. In multivariate analyses that decoded whether a sentence described motion or not, the middle and posterior parts of LOTC showed above-chance level performance, with performance exceeding that of other brain regions. Univariate ROI analyses found the middle part of LOTC was more active for motion events than static ones. Finally, PPI analyses found that when processing motion events, the middle and posterior parts of LOTC (overlapping with motion perception regions), increased their connectivity with cognitive control regions. Taken together, these results indicate that the more posterior parts of LOTC, including motion perception cortex, respond differently to motion vs. static events. These findings are consistent with embodiment accounts of semantic processing, and suggest that understanding verbal descriptions of motion engages areas of the occipitotemporal cortex involved in perceiving motion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119450
Early online date4 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • motion concept
  • semantic understanding
  • left occipital temporal cortex


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