Probing principles of large-scale object representation: Category preference and location encoding.
ABSTRACT Knowledge about the principles that govern large-scale neural representations of objects is central to a systematic understanding of object recognition. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and multivariate pattern classification to investigate two such candidate principles: category preference and location encoding. The former designates the preferential activation of distinct cortical regions by a specific category of objects. The latter refers to information about where in the visual field a particular object is located. Participants viewed exemplars of three object categories (faces, bodies, and scenes) that were presented left or right of fixation. The analysis of fMRI activation patterns revealed the following. Category-selective regions retained their preference to the same categories in a manner tolerant to changes in object location. However, category preference was not absolute: category-selective regions also contained location-tolerant information about nonpreferred categories. Furthermore, location information was present throughout high-level ventral visual cortex and was distributed systematically across the cortical surface. We found more location information in lateral-occipital cortex than in ventral-temporal cortex. Our results provide a systematic account of the extent to which the principles of category preference and location encoding determine the representation of objects in the high-level ventral visual cortex. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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ABSTRACT: Recollection of events is accompanied by selective reactivation of cortical regions which responded to specific sensory and cognitive dimensions of the original events. This reactivation is thought to reflect the reinstatement of stored memory representations and therefore to reflect memory content, but it may also reveal processes which support both encoding and retrieval. The present study used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate whether regions selectively engaged in encoding face and scene context with studied words are also re-engaged when the context is later retrieved. As predicted, encoding face and scene context with visually presented words elicited activity in distinct, context-selective regions. Retrieval of face and scene context also re-engaged some of the regions which had shown successful encoding effects. However, this recapitulation of encoding activity did not show the same context selectivity observed at encoding. Successful retrieval of both face and scene context re-engaged regions which had been associated with encoding of the other type of context, as well as those associated with encoding the same type of context. This recapitulation may reflect retrieval attempts which are not context-selective, but use shared retrieval cues to re-engage encoding operations in service of recollection.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:351. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Using multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA), we studied how distributed visual representations in human occipitotemporal cortex are modulated by attention and link their modulation to concurrent activity in frontal and parietal cortex. We detected similar occipitotemporal patterns during a simple visuoperceptual task and an attention-to-working-memory task in which one or two stimuli were cued before being presented among other pictures. Pattern strength varied from highest to lowest when the stimulus was the exclusive focus of attention, a conjoint focus, and when it was potentially distracting. Although qualitatively similar effects were seen inside regions relatively specialized for the stimulus category and outside, the former were quantitatively stronger. By regressing occipitotemporal pattern strength against activity elsewhere in the brain, we identified frontal and parietal areas exerting top-down control over, or reading information out from, distributed patterns in occipitotemporal cortex. Their interactions with patterns inside regions relatively specialized for that stimulus category were higher than those with patterns outside those regions and varied in strength as a function of the attentional condition. One area, the frontal operculum, was distinguished by selectively interacting with occipitotemporal patterns only when they were the focus of attention. There was no evidence that any frontal or parietal area actively inhibited occipitotemporal representations even when they should be ignored and were suppressed. Using MVPA to decode information within these frontal and parietal areas showed that they contained information about attentional context and/or readout information from occipitotemporal cortex to guide behavior but that frontal regions lacked information about category identity.Journal of Neuroscience 10/2013; 33(42):16443-58. · 6.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A fundamental issue in visual cognition is whether high-level visual areas code objects in a part-based or a view-based (holistic) format. Previous behavioral and neuroimaging studies that examined the viewpoint invariance of object recognition have yielded ambiguous results, providing evidence for either type of representational format. A critical factor distinguishing the two formats could be the availability of attentional resources, as a number of priming studies have found greater viewpoint invariance for attended compared to unattended objects. It has therefore been suggested that the activation of part-based representations requires attention, whereas the activation of holistic representations occurs automatically irrespective of attention. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a novel multivariate pattern analysis approach, the present study probed the format of object representations in human lateral occipital complex and its dependence on attention. We presented human participants with intact and half-split versions of objects that were either attended or unattended. Cross-classifying between intact and split objects, we found that the object-related information coded in activation patterns of intact objects is fully preserved in the patterns of split objects and vice versa. Importantly, the generalization between intact and split objects did not depend on attention. We conclude that lateral occipital complex codes objects in a non-holistic format, both in the presence and absence of attention.NeuroImage 12/2014; · 6.13 Impact Factor