White matter connections of high-level visual areas predict cytoarchitecture better than category-selectivity in childhood, but not adulthood

Emily Kubota, Mareike Grotheer, Dawn Finzi, Vaidehi S. Natu, Jesse Gomez, Kalanit Grill-Spector

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ventral temporal cortex (VTC) consists of high-level visual regions that are arranged in consistent anatomical locations across individuals. This consistency has led to several hypotheses about the factors that constrain the functional organization of VTC. A prevailing theory is that white matter connections influence the organization of VTC, however, the nature of this constraint is unclear. Here, we test 2 hypotheses: (1) white matter tracts are specific for each category or (2) white matter tracts are specific to cytoarchitectonic areas of VTC. To test these hypotheses, we used diffusion magnetic resonance imaging to identify white matter tracts and functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify category-selective regions in VTC in children and adults. We find that in childhood, white matter connections are linked to cytoarchitecture rather than category-selectivity. In adulthood, however, white matter connections are linked to both cytoarchitecture and category-selectivity. These results suggest a rethinking of the view that category-selective regions in VTC have category-specific white matter connections early in development. Instead, these findings suggest that the neural hardware underlying the processing of categorical stimuli may be more domain-general than previously thought, particularly in childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2485-2506
Number of pages22
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • development
  • fusiform face area
  • ventral stream
  • visual word form area

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