No evidence for neural overlap between unconsciously processed and imagined stimuli
SourceeNeuro, (2021), article ENEURO.0228-21.2021
30 september 2021
Article / Letter to editor
Display more detailsDisplay less details
SW OZ DCC AI
Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
SubjectCognitive artificial intelligence
Visual representations can be generated via feedforward or feedback processes. The extent to which these processes result in overlapping representations remains unclear. Previous work has shown that imagined stimuli elicit similar representations as perceived stimuli throughout the visual cortex. However, while representations during imagery are indeed only caused by feedback processing, neural processing during perception is an interplay of both feedforward and feedback processing. This means that any representational overlap could be due to overlap in feedback processes. In the current study we aimed to investigate this issue by characterizing the overlap between feedforward- and feedback-initiated category-representations during imagery, conscious perception and unconscious processing using fMRI in humans of either sex. While all three conditions elicited stimulus representations in left lateral occipital cortex (LOC), significant similarities were only observed between imagery and conscious perception in this area. Furthermore, connectivity analyses revealed stronger connectivity between frontal areas and left LOC during conscious perception and imagery compared to unconscious processing. Together, these findings can be explained by the idea that long-range feedback modifies visual representations, thereby reducing representational overlap between purely feedforward and feedback-initiated stimulus representations measured by fMRI. Neural representations influenced by feedback, either stimulus-driven (perception) or purely internally-driven (imagery), are however relatively similar.Significance statementPrevious research has shown substantial neural overlap between imagery and perception, suggesting overlap between bottom-up and top-down processes. However, because conscious perception also involves top-down processing, this overlap could instead reflect similarity in feedback processes. In this study, we showed that the overlap between perception and imagery disappears when stimuli are rendered unconscious via backward masking, suggesting reduced overlap between purely bottom-up and top-down generated representations.
Upload full text
Use your RU credentials (u/z-number and password) to log in with SURFconext to upload a file for processing by the repository team.