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Tom Hartley, David Watson, Tim Andrews; Investigating cortical encoding of visual parameters relevant to spatial cognition and environmental geometry in humans.. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):10. doi: 10.1167/16.12.10.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Studies of firing properties of cells in the rodent hippocampal formation indicate an important role for boundary cells in anchoring the allocentric firing fields of place and grid cells. To understand how spatial variables such as the distance to local boundaries might be derived from visual input in humans, we are investigating links between the statistical properties of natural scenes and patterns of neural response in scene selective visual cortex. In our latest work we used a data-driven analysis to select clusters of natural scenes from a large database, solely on the basis of their image properties. Although these visually-defined clusters did not correspond to typical experimenter-defined categories used in earlier work, we found they elicited distinct and reliable patterns of neural response in parahippocampal cortex, and that the relative similarity of the response patterns was better explained in terms of low-level visual properties of the images than by local semantic information. Our results suggest that human parahippocampal cortex encodes visual parameters (including properties relevant to environmental geometry). Our approach opens the way to isolating these parameters and investigating their relationship to spatial variables.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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