August 2010
Volume 10, Issue 7
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2010
Top-down engagement modulates the neural expressions of visual expertise
Author Affiliations
  • Assaf Harel
    Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health
    Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Sharon Gilaie-Dotan
    Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK
    Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, UK
    Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • Rafael Malach
    Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • Shlomo Bentin
    Department of Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
    Center of Neural Computation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Journal of Vision August 2010, Vol.10, 945. doi:10.1167/10.7.945
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      Assaf Harel, Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, Rafael Malach, Shlomo Bentin; Top-down engagement modulates the neural expressions of visual expertise. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):945. doi: 10.1167/10.7.945.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Perceptual expertise is traditionally associated with enhanced brain activity in response to objects of expertise in category-selective visual cortex, primarily face-selective regions. We reassessed this view asking (1) What are the neural manifestations of visual expertise and are they confined to category-selective cortex and (2) Is expertise-related activity an automatic process or does it depend on the top-down engagement of the experts with their objects of expertise? We conducted two fMRI studies comparing neural manifestations of car expertise in absence of task constraints (Experiment 1) and when the task-relevance of cars was explicitly manipulated (Experiment 2). We unveiled extensive expertise-related activity throughout the visual cortex, starting as early as V1, which extended into non-visual areas. However, when cars were task-irrelevant, the expertise-related activity drastically diminished, indeed, becoming similar to the activity elicited by cars in novices. We suggest that expertise entails voluntary top-down engagement of multiple neural networks in addition to stimulus-driven activation associated with perceptual mechanisms.

Harel, A. Gilaie-Dotan, S. Malach, R. Bentin, S. (2010). Top-down engagement modulates the neural expressions of visual expertise [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 10(7):945, 945a, http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/945, doi:10.1167/10.7.945. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH 64458 to SB) and by the Israel Foundations Trustees Program for the Advancement of Research in the Social Sciences (Research Grant for Doctoral Students in the Social Sciences to AH).
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