Interaction between scene and object processing revealed by human fMRI and MEG decoding
SourceThe Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 32, (2017), pp. 7700-7710
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
The Journal of Neuroscience
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Scenes strongly facilitate object recognition, such as when we make out the shape of a distant boat on the water. Yet, although known to interact in perception, neuroimaging research has primarily provided evidence for separate scene- and object-selective cortical pathways. This raises the question of how these pathways interact to support context-based perception. Here we used a novel approach in human fMRI and MEG studies to reveal supra-additive scene-object interactions. Participants (men and women) viewed degraded objects that were hard to recognize when presented in isolation but easy to recognize within their original scene context, in which no other associated objects were present. fMRI decoding showed that the multivariate representation of the objects' category (animate/inanimate) in object-selective cortex was strongly enhanced by the presence of scene context, even though the scenes alone did not evoke category-selective response patterns. This effect in object-selective cortex was correlated with concurrent activity in scene-selective regions. MEG decoding results revealed that scene-based facilitation of object processing peaked at 320 ms after stimulus onset, 100 ms later than peak decoding of intact objects. Together, results suggest that expectations derived from scene information, processed in scene-selective cortex, feed back to shape object representations in visual cortex. These findings characterize, in space and time, functional interactions between scene- and object-processing pathways.
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