Cortical Brain Regions Associated with Color Processing: An FMRi Study

Inês Bramão1, 3, 4, Luís Faísca1, Christian Forkstam2, 3, 4, Alexandra Reis1, 2, Karl Magnus Petersson*, 1, 2, 3, 4
1 Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Deparmento de Psicologia, Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais, & Institute of Biotechnology & Bioengineering/CBME, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
2 Cognitive Neurophysiology Research Group, Stockholm Brain Institute, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
3 Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
4 Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, Centre for Neuroimaging, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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© Petersson et al; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, P.O.Box 310, NL-6500 AH Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Tel: +31 (0)24 3521319; Fax: +31 (0)24 3521213; E-mail:


To clarify whether the neural pathways concerning color processing are the same for natural objects, for artifacts objects and for non-objects we examined brain responses measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) during a covert naming task including the factors color (color vs. black&white (B&W)) and stimulus type (natural vs. artifacts vs. non-objects). Our results indicate that the superior parietal lobule and precuneus (BA 7) bilaterally, the right hippocampus and the right fusifom gyrus (V4) make part of a network responsible for color processing both for natural objects and artifacts, but not for non-objects. When color objects (both natural and artifacts) were contrasted with color non-objects we observed activations in the right parahippocampal gyrus (BA 35/36), the superior parietal lobule (BA 7) bilaterally, the left inferior middle temporal region (BA 20/21) and the inferior and superior frontal regions (BA 10/11/47). These additional activations suggest that colored objects recruit brain regions that are related to visual semantic information/retrieval and brain regions related to visuo-spatial processing. Overall, the results suggest that color information is an attribute that can improve object recognition (behavioral results) and activate a specific neural network related to visual semantic information that is more extensive than for B&W objects during object recognition.

Keywords: FMRI, color information and processing, naming, natural objects, artifacts objects, non-objects.