August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
Revisiting the animacy, size, and curvature organization of human visual cortex
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura M. Stoinski
    MPI Human Cognitive & Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
  • Oliver Contier
    MPI Human Cognitive & Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
    Max Planck School of Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive & Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
  • Talia Konkle
    Department of Psychology & Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Martin N. Hebart
    Department of Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This work was supported by a Max Planck Research Group Grant (M.TN.A.NEPF0009) awarded to MNH and the ERC Starting Grant COREDIM (ERC-StG-2021-101039712) awarded to MNH.
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 5072. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Laura M. Stoinski, Oliver Contier, Talia Konkle, Martin N. Hebart; Revisiting the animacy, size, and curvature organization of human visual cortex. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):5072.

      Download citation file:

      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

Previous research has uncovered a large-scale organization of object categories in occipitotemporal cortex by the dimensions of animacy and real-world size (Konkle & Caramazza, 2013). The tripartite division of cortical zones with a preference for large objects, all animals, and small objects has been robustly replicated and appears to be driven by the mid-level visual feature curvature, i.e. large objects tend to be boxier, and small objects and animals curvier (Long et al., 2017). However, given the factorial design in the original studies, it has remained open to what degree these findings generalize to larger stimulus sets. To address this question, we used THINGS-fMRI, a large-scale dataset comprising fMRI responses to 8,740 naturalistic images of 720 animate and inanimate object categories (Contier et al., 2021). We then collected and applied a rich behavioral dataset of perceived animacy, real-world size, and image-wise curvature ratings (Stoinski et al., 2022). Our results replicate many facets of the characteristic animacy-size organization, such as alternating patterns of animate-to-inanimate and large-to-small gradients, respectively. However, beyond these previous findings, we found additional, bilateral clusters in-between FFA and PPA that responded preferentially to small objects. In addition, our results showed pronounced size gradients within animate selective regions of the right hemisphere. These results were replicated across all three subjects and could not be explained by the broader size range and diversity of our categories. Instead, other factors, such as naturalistic image background or object eccentricity, may contribute to the stronger alternation of large-small preferences. Finally, contrary to the view that high-level animacy and size distinctions are driven strongly by curvature information, curvature explained only limited portions of observed animacy and size selectivity while the overall pattern of results remained the same. Together, our results add important facets to the understanding of the large-scale functional organization of occipitotemporal cortex.


This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.