December 2010
Volume 10, Issue 15
Free
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2010
Anti-correlation between natural scene orientation structure and activity in visual cortex
Author Affiliations
  • Damien J. Mannion
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA
    School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Australia
    Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science
  • J. Scott McDonald
    School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Colin W. G. Clifford
    School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Australia
    Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science
Journal of Vision December 2010, Vol.10, 17. doi:10.1167/10.15.17
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      Damien J. Mannion, J. Scott McDonald, Colin W. G. Clifford; Anti-correlation between natural scene orientation structure and activity in visual cortex. Journal of Vision 2010;10(15):17. doi: 10.1167/10.15.17.

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

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Abstract

Representing the orientation of features in the visual image is a fundamental operation of the early cortical visual system. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we have previously shown that the magnitude of activity evoked by stimuli of differing orientation is anisotropic in human visual cortex (Mannion, McDonald, & Clifford, 2010). Oblique grating orientations evoked greater magnitudes of activity than horizontal and, to a lesser extent, vertical orientations as early as V1. Furthermore, sections of the visual image in which the orientation was radial to the point of fixation evoked greater magnitudes of activity than sections in which it was tangential. To investigate the relationship between such anisotropies and the spatial structure of the natural environment, we analysed a sequence of natural images aligned to the gaze of a freely-moving human observer (Schumann, Einhäuser, Vockeroth, Bartl, Schneider, & König, 2008). We find an over-representation of orientations that are horizontal and, to a lesser extent, vertical and orientations that are tangential to the point of fixation. Hence, the prevalence of orientations in the natural environment is anti-correlated with the magnitude of evoked V1 activity. This relationship between visual ecology and visual sensitivity suggests that processing in V1 serves to equalize the output of orientation-selective mechanisms by anticipating a diet of retinal image structure characteristic of free-viewing of the natural environment.

Acknowledgments
Supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award to DM, an Australian Research Fellowship to CC, and by grants from the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. 
Mannion, D. J., McDonald, J. S., Clifford, C. W. G.(2010). Orientation anisotropies in human visual cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology, 103(6), 3465–3471. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Schumann, F., Einhäuser, W., Vockeroth, J., Bartl, K., Schneider, E., König, P.(2008). Salient features in gaze-aligned recordings of human visual input during free exploration of natural environments. Journal of Vision, 8(14):12, 1–17. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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