An fMRI study of stimulus equivalence

David W. Dickins*, Krish D. Singh, Neil Roberts, Patrick Burns, John J. Downes, Phil Jimmieson, Richard P. Bentall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


In order to study brain activation during the formation of equivalence relations, 12 subjects underwent fMRI during matching-to-sample (MTS) tests of (I) previously trained arbitrary relationships between iconic stimuli and the untrained, emergent relations of (2) symmetry, (3) transitivity, and (4) symmetry with transitivity; plus a test of verbal fluency (VF). Brain activation was similar in all MTS tasks and in the VF task. In particular, both types of task activated dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and posterior parietal cortex bilaterally. However VF, but not the MTS tasks, activated Broca's area. In three of the four MTS tasks, behavioural accuracy was significantly correlated with left lateralisation of DLPFC activity. Brain activation patterns during equivalence thus resembled those involved in semantic processing underlying language, without involving regions concerned with the simple sub-vocal articulation of stimulus names.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Broca's area
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Emergent relations
  • Equivalence relations
  • fMRI
  • Matching-to-sample
  • Symmetry
  • Transitivity
  • Verbal fluency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'An fMRI study of stimulus equivalence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this