Recognition alters the spatial pattern of fMRI activation in early retinotopic cortex
Author(s)Hsieh, Po-Jang; Vul, Edward; Kanwisher, Nancy
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Early retinotopic cortex has traditionally been viewed as containing a veridical representation of the low-level properties of the image, not imbued by high-level interpretation and meaning. Yet several recent results indicate that neural representations in early retinotopic cortex reflect not just the sensory properties of the image, but also the perceived size and brightness of image regions. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging pattern analyses to ask whether the representation of an object in early retinotopic cortex changes when the object is recognized compared with when the same stimulus is presented but not recognized. Our data confirmed this hypothesis: the pattern of response in early retinotopic visual cortex to a two-tone “Mooney” image of an object was more similar to the response to the full grayscale photo version of the same image when observers knew what the two-tone image represented than when they did not. Further, in a second experiment, high-level interpretations actually overrode bottom-up stimulus information, such that the pattern of response in early retinotopic cortex to an identified two-tone image was more similar to the response to the photographic version of that stimulus than it was to the response to the identical two-tone image when it was not identified. Our findings are consistent with prior results indicating that perceived size and brightness affect representations in early retinotopic visual cortex and, further, show that even higher-level information—knowledge of object identity—also affects the representation of an object in early retinotopic cortex.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
Journal of Neurophysiology
American Physiological Society
Hsieh, P.-J., E. Vul, and N. Kanwisher. “Recognition Alters the Spatial Pattern of fMRI Activation in Early Retinotopic Cortex.” Journal of Neurophysiology 103.3 (2010): 1501–1507. Web.
Author's final manuscript