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Soojin Park, Matthew Levine, Matthew Dunne; Neural representation of the navigability in a scene. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1097. doi: 10.1167/13.9.1097.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Navigating diverse environments is essential to an individual’s everyday life. The ability to recognize the best route to take, where obstacles are, the affordance of the obstacles, etc., can influence our functional interactions and navigation in an environment. Here, we examined how neural areas respond to scenes that vary in the degree of navigability. Participants (N=11) were shown blocks of natural outdoor scenes defined by their functional (navigable vs non-navigable) and structural (open vs closed) properties: Open Navigable, Open Non-Navigable, Closed Navigable, & Closed Non-Navigable scenes. While participants performed a simple one-back task, we measured multivoxel pattern activity across regions of interests (the parahippocampal place area (PPA), the restrosplenial cortex (RSC), transverse occipital sulcus (TOS) and V1). We ran a linear classifier for these regions and analyzed the patterns of confusion errors. Depending on whether scenes are represented based on structural or functional properties, we would expect high confusion errors in scenes that share the same spatial structure or the same navigability, respectively. PPA did not show any bias in the percentage of confusion errors for scenes that share the same navigability or the same structure, suggesting that PPA represents both the structural and functional properties of scenes. In contrast, both RSC and TOS showed a significantly greater percentage of confusion errors for scenes that share the same navigability than for scenes that share the same spatial structure (both ps<.01). There was a significant interaction across regions and confusion error patterns (all ps<.03). These results suggest that RSC and TOS primarily represent the functional property of a scene, independent of the spatial structural property. Further analysis with individual differences showed that good navigators and poor navigators show significant difference in TOS confusion error patterns (p<.01), suggesting a possible role of TOS in computing the navigability of a scene.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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