Do object-category selective regions in the ventral visual stream represent perceived distance information?

Elinor Amit, Eyal Mehoudar, Yaacov Trope, Galit Yovel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well established that scenes and objects elicit a highly selective response in specific brain regions in the ventral visual cortex. An inherent difference between these categories that has not been explored yet is their perceived distance from the observer (i.e. scenes are distal whereas objects are proximal). The current study aimed to test the extent to which scene and object selective areas are sensitive to perceived distance information independently from their category-selectivity and retinotopic location. We conducted two studies that used a distance illusion (i.e., the Ponzo lines) and showed that scene regions (the parahippocampal place area, PPA, and transverse occipital sulcus, TOS) are biased toward perceived distal stimuli, whereas the lateral occipital (LO) object region is biased toward perceived proximal stimuli. These results suggest that the ventral visual cortex plays a role in representing distance information, extending recent findings on the sensitivity of these regions to location information. More broadly, our findings imply that distance information is inherent to object recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-213
Number of pages13
JournalBrain and cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Distance
  • Objects
  • Perceived distance
  • Scenes
  • Ventral visual stream

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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