Previous evidence from neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies suggests functional specialization for tools and related semantic knowledge in a left frontoparietal network. It is still debated whether these areas are involved in the representation of rudimentary movement-relevant knowledge regardless of semantic domains (animate vs. inanimate) or categories (tools vs. nontool objects). Here, we used fMRI to record brain activity while 13 volunteers performed two semantic judgment tasks on visually presented items from three different categories: animals, tools, and nontool objects. Participants had to judge two distinct semantic features: whether two items typically move in a similar way (e.g., a fan and a windmill move in circular motion) or whether they are usually found in the same environment (e.g., a seesaw and a swing are found in a playground). We investigated differences in overall activation (which areas are involved) as well as representational content (which information is encoded) across semantic features and categories. Results of voxel-wise mass univariate analysis showed that, regardless of semantic category, a dissociation emerges between processing information on prototypical location (involving the anterior temporal cortex and the angular gyrus) and movement (linked to left inferior parietal and frontal activation). Multivoxel pattern correlation analyses confirmed the representational segregation of networks encoding task- and category-related aspects of semantic processing. Taken together, these findings suggest that the left frontoparietal network is recruited to process movement properties of items (including both biological and nonbiological motion) regardless of their semantic category.

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