According to a recent study, semantic similarity between concrete entities correlates with the similarity of activity patterns in left middle IPS during category naming. We examined the replicability of this effect under passive viewing conditions, the potential role of visuoperceptual similarity, where the effect is situated compared to regions that have been previously implicated in visuospatial attention, and how it compares to effects of object identity and location. Forty-six subjects participated. Subjects passively viewed pictures from two categories, musical instruments and vehicles. Semantic similarity between entities was estimated based on a concept-feature matrix obtained in more than 1000 subjects. Visuoperceptual similarity was modelled based on the HMAX model, the AlexNet deep convolutional learning model, and, thirdly, based on subjective visuoperceptual similarity ratings. Among the IPS regions examined, only left middle IPS showed a semantic similarity effect. The effect was significant in hIP1, hIP2 and hIP3. Visuoperceptual similarity did not correlate with similarity of activity patterns in left middle IPS. The semantic similarity effect in left middle IPS was significantly stronger than in the right middle IPS and also stronger than in the left or right posterior IPS. The semantic similarity effect was similar to that seen in the angular gyrus. Object identity effects were much more widespread across nearly all parietal areas examined. Location effects were relatively specific for posterior IPS and area 7 bilaterally. To conclude, the current findings replicate the semantic similarity effect in left middle IPS under passive viewing conditions, and demonstrate its anatomical specificity within a cytoarchitectonic reference frame. We propose that the semantic similarity effect in left middle IPS reflects the transient uploading of semantic representations in working memory.
- concept-feature matrix
- multivariate pattern analysis
- musical instruments
- Parietal cortex