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Neural Representations of Physics Concepts

"Considerable advances have been made in developing brain-based theories of semantic knowledge, such as knowledge of concrete objects or emotions. Brain-imaging research has uncovered sets of brain systems that collectively contain the neural representations of such concepts, including information about the way the human body interacts with them (in the case of objects) or their intensity (in the case of emotions; Just, Cherkassky, Aryal, & Mitchell, 2010; Kassam, Markey, Cherkassky, Loewenstein, & Just, 2013). What has not yet been investigated with this approach is the neural representation of specialized abstract knowledge acquired through academic study, such as science learning. The current article addresses this issue in the area of physics knowledge. . . ."

Edited by Boydstun
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Mapping Visual Symbols Onto Spoken Language Along the Ventral Visual Stream

"In summary, our study provides strong empirical support for a hierarchical, posterior-to-anterior gradient in vOT that represents increasingly abstract information about written words. In line with Dehaene et al.’s (8) proposal, we found that representations in posterior visual regions are tied to location and may encode low-level visual information, whereas letter identity was represented in left midanterior vOT with a degree of location invariance. These location-invariant letter representations are then further transformed in left midanterior vOT to encode aspects of a word’s pronunciation and meaning. These results contribute to our understanding of how the brain maps from arbitrary visual symbols to rich linguistic representations, ultimately enabling the experience of language through the visual modality."


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