Conceptual knowledge in the brain: fMRI evidence for a featural organization

J. Frederico Marques, Nicola Canessa, Simona Siri, Eleonora Catricalà, Stefano Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The organization and representation of conceptual knowledge in the brain remains a controversial issue in terms of both neuropsychological and imaging evidence. We report the results of a functional magnetic resonance study in which the role of the most debated dimensions (domain and feature type) was evaluated through a concept-feature verification task. The scope of the task was to eliminate serious methodological concerns that weighed down previous imaging research in this area, and to allow more definitive conclusions regarding the specific contribution of these dimensions. The results show differential patterns of brain activity according to feature type (both motion and visual form/surface features) but not according to concept domain (living vs. nonliving things). These findings are in accord with a modality-specific account of conceptual knowledge organization in the brain, in which specific kinds of features (e.g. form, color, motion, etc) have differential importance for representing different concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2008


  • Conceptual knowledge
  • Domain
  • Features
  • fMRI
  • Semantic memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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