“Can touch this”: Cross-modal shape categorization performance is associated with microstructural characteristics of white matter association pathways

Haemy Lee Masson, Christian Wallraven, Laurent Petit
Hum. Brain Mapp.. 2016-10-03; 38(2): 842-854
DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23422

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1. Hum Brain Mapp. 2017 Feb;38(2):842-854. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23422. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

« Can touch this »: Cross-modal shape categorization performance is associated with
microstructural characteristics of white matter association pathways.

Lee Masson H(1), Wallraven C(1), Petit L(2).

Author information:
(1)Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University, Seoul,
136-713, Korea.
(2)Groupe d’Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle, Institut Des Maladies Neurodégénératives
– UMR 5293, CNRS, CEA University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.

Previous studies on visuo-haptic shape processing provide evidence that visually
learned shape information can transfer to the haptic domain. In particular,
recent neuroimaging studies have shown that visually learned novel objects that
were haptically tested recruited parts of the ventral pathway from early visual
cortex to the temporal lobe. Interestingly, in such tasks considerable individual
variation in cross-modal transfer performance was observed. Here, we investigate
whether this individual variation may be reflected in microstructural
characteristics of white-matter (WM) pathways. We first trained participants on a
fine-grained categorization task of novel shapes in the visual domain, followed
by a haptic categorization test. We then correlated visual training-performance
and haptic test-performance, as well as performance on a symbol-coding task
requiring visuo-motor dexterity with microstructural properties of WM bundles
potentially involved in visuo-haptic processing (the inferior longitudinal
fasciculus [ILF], the fronto-temporal part of the superior longitudinal
fasciculus [SLFft ] and the vertical occipital fasciculus [VOF]). Behavioral
results showed that haptic categorization performance was good on average but
exhibited large inter-individual variability. Haptic performance also was
correlated with performance in the symbol-coding task. WM analyses showed that
fast visual learners exhibited higher fractional anisotropy (FA) in left SLFft
and left VOF. Importantly, haptic test-performance (and symbol-coding
performance) correlated with FA in ILF and with axial diffusivity in SLFft .
These findings provide clear evidence that individual variation in visuo-haptic
performance can be linked to microstructural characteristics of WM pathways. Hum
Brain Mapp 38:842-854, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23422
PMID: 27696592 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus