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Abstract: Psychologists and neuroimagers commonly study perceptual and cognitive processes using images because of the convenience and ease of experimental control they provide.  However, real objects differ from pictures in many ways, including the availability and consistency of depth cues and the potential for interaction. Across a series of neuroimaging experiments, we have shown that the brain responds differently to real objects than pictures, both in terms of the level of activation and the pattern. Specifically, compared to pictures, real objects are processed more deeply, evoke different neural patterns, and show stronger neural correlates of their value.  Taken together, these results suggest that real objects are more engaging, both perceptually and neurally, and open up new research directions to better understand which aspects of real objects drive these effects.