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Elissa Aminoff, Michael Tarr; Anterior to posterior parahippocampal organization of scene information. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1079. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1079.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Scenes can be described in terms of both their contents and their spatial relations. For example, a bathroom typically contains both a toilet and a sink, as well as a mirror placed above the sink. A brain area within the parahippocampal-lingual region (PLR), often referred to as the parahippocampal place area, is thought to be critical for processing such information within scenes. Here, we demonstrate that the PLR mediates scene processing through mechanisms of associative processing. Participants were trained to learn novel associations between meaningless shapes, analogous to associations between objects, and novel associations between positions within a grid, analogous to spatial relations within a scene. To examine the functional role of such associative processing in cortical scene representation, we used fMRI to compare the BOLD patterns elicited for everyday scenes with the BOLD patterns elicited for the trained, novel associations. Overall, the novel associations were processed by the same neural structures as scenes. Critically, this functional similarity was organized according to the domain of the association along an anterior to posterior axis within the PLR. That is, the BOLD pattern was similar between scenes and the associations between shapes in anterior regions of the PLR – a relationship not evident in posterior regions. In contrast, the BOLD pattern was similar between scenes and the associations between locations in posterior regions of the PLR – a relationship not evident in anterior PLR. In sum, our results provide both an account for how scenes are encoded within the cortex, and an account of the specific functional mechanisms that support this encoding. As such, insight into how different forms of associative processing give rise to the neural mechanisms underlying scene representation.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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