A common neural substrate for perceiving and knowing about color

W. Kyle Simmons, Vimal Ramjee, Michael S. Beauchamp, Ken McRae, Alex Martin, Lawrence W. Barsalou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Scopus citations


Functional neuroimaging research has demonstrated that retrieving information about object-associated colors activates the left fusiform gyrus in posterior temporal cortex. Although regions near the fusiform have previously been implicated in color perception, it remains unclear whether color knowledge retrieval actually activates the color perception system. Evidence to this effect would be particularly strong if color perception cortex was activated by color knowledge retrieval triggered strictly with linguistic stimuli. To address this question, subjects performed two tasks while undergoing fMRI. First, subjects performed a property verification task using only words to assess conceptual knowledge. On each trial, subjects verified whether a named color or motor property was true of a named object (e.g., TAXI-yellow, HAIR-combed). Next, subjects performed a color perception task. A region of the left fusiform gyrus that was highly responsive during color perception also showed greater activity for retrieving color than motor property knowledge. These data provide the first evidence for a direct overlap in the neural bases of color perception and stored information about object-associated color, and they significantly add to accumulating evidence that conceptual knowledge is grounded in the brain's modality-specific systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2802-2810
Number of pages9
Issue number12
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Color perception
  • Conceptual knowledge
  • fMRI
  • Fusiform gyrus
  • Property verification


Dive into the research topics of 'A common neural substrate for perceiving and knowing about color'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this