2 February 2011
Venue: HSB 604
Department of Psychology colloquium by Professor Melvyn Goodale, Director, Centre for Brain and Mind, University of Western Ontario.
Almost all studies of object recognition, particularly in fMRI, have focused on the geometric structure of objects (ie ‘things’). Little attention has been paid to the recognition of the materials from which objects are made (ie ‘stuff’), information that is often signalled by surface-based visual cues. But knowledge about stuff (the material properties of objects) has profound implications, not only for understanding what an object is, but also for the planning of actions, such as the setting of initial grip and load forces during grasping. In recent years, our lab has made some headway in delineating the neural systems that mediate the recognition of stuff (as opposed to things).
I will discuss evidence from both neuropsychological studies and fMRI that the lateral occipital area in the ventral stream plays a critical role in processing the 3-D structure and geometry of objects, whereas more anteromedial regions of the ventral stream in the fusiform, lingual, and parahippocampal gyrus are engaged in the processing of the surface properties of objects (and thus their material properties). These data could help reconcile the debate between category-specific and distributed accounts of visual processing in the ventral stream. I will also discuss how knowledge about the material properties of objects can affect expectations about their weight as well as the forces that are initially applied to objects when we pick them up.
For more information visit Professor Goodale's website http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/goodale/
or contact Dr Quentin Atkinson
Department of Psychology, The University of Auckland