Many studies now suggest that the brain is not organized around discrete parallel processing of modality-specific inputs, but rather has a multisensory task-based organization. For example, many areas previously thought to be specialized for various visual tasks, such as motion detection or face processing, have been shown to be active during analogous tactile or haptic tasks. Here, we focus on the involvement of visual cortex in haptic shape perception and review the extent to which this reflects visual imagery. We discuss a model of visuo-haptic object representation in which the lateral occipital complex houses object representations that are flexibly accessible via top-down pathways involving object imagery for familiar objects or bottom-up pathways for unfamiliar objects.
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