Where for what: A meta-analysis for the category-specific activations for living/nonliving concepts in the past two decades

AbstractThe cortical organization of the semantic network has been studied extensively, and theories have heavily relied on the observation of category-specific activation, i.e., the preferential activations in brain regions for specific semantic categories. With decades of research, a full understanding of the organization has not been reached yet, since little is known about the factors that contribute to the variances in observed activation patterns across numerous neuroimaging studies. In this study, we first reviewed 97 published papers that reported category-specific activations for living or nonliving concepts in the past two decades. Then, using the Activation Likelihood Estimate (ALE) method, we characterized the brain activation associated with living and nonliving concepts, revealed the influences of relevant factors (e.g., neuroimaging mode, task demands, and stimuli modality), and discussed these findings in relation to theoretical accounts of cortical semantic networks.

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