Topographic Representation of the Human Body in the Occipitotemporal Cortex

Tanya Orlov, Tamar R. Makin, Ehud Zohary*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Large-scale topographic representations of the body have long been established in the somatosensory and motor cortices. Using functional imaging, we identified a topographically organized body part map within the occipitotemporal cortex (OTC), with distinct clusters of voxels showing clear preference for different visually presented body parts. This representation was consistent both across hemispheres and participants. Using converging methods, the preference for specific body parts was demonstrated to be robust and did not merely reflect shape differences between the categories. Finally, execution of (unseen) movements with different body parts resulted in a limited topographic representation of the limbs and trunk, which partially overlapped with the visual body part map. This motor-driven activation in the OTC could not be explained solely by visual or motor imagery of the body parts. This suggests that visual and motor-related information converge within the OTC in a body part specific manner.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)586-600
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Rafi Malach, Eli Nelken, and Laurence Hunt for helpful discussions, Nick Holmes for comments on the manuscript, and Gadi Blumrosen for technical assistance. This research was supported by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (Grant no. 2005227). T.R.M. was partially funded by a Royal Society, Newton International Fellowship.


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