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Elliot D. Freeman, Philipp Sterzer, Jon Driver; fMRI correlates of subjective reversals in ambiguous structure-from-motion. Journal of Vision 2012;12(6):35. doi: 10.1167/12.6.35.
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We used fMRI to examine the neural correlates of subjective reversals for bistable structure-from-motion. We compared transparent random-dot kinematograms depicting either a cylinder rotating in depth or two flat surfaces translating in opposite directions at apparently different depths. For both such stimuli, the motion of dots on the different apparent depth planes typically appears to reverse direction periodically on prolonged viewing. Yet for cylindrical but not flat stimuli, such subjective reversals also coincide with apparent reversal of 3D rotation direction. We hypothesized that the lateral occipital complex (region LOC), sensitive to 3D form, might show greater event-related activity for subjective reversals of cylindrical than flat stimuli; conversely, motion-sensitive hMT+/V5 should respond in common to subjective reversals for either type of stimuli, as both are perceived as changes in planar motion. We obtained an event-related measure of neural activity associated with subjective reversals after first factoring out block-related differences between cylindrical versus flat stimuli (and thereby the associated low-level blocked stimulus differences). In support of our hypothesis, only the cylindrical stimuli produced reversal-related activity in contralateral human LOC. In contrast, the hMT+/V5 complex was activated alike by subjective reversals for both cylindrical and flat stimuli. Intriguingly, V1 also showed (contralateral) specificity for rotational reversals, suggesting a possible feedback influence from LOC. These results reveal specific neural correlates for subjective switches of 3D rotation versus translation, as distinct from subjective reversals in general.
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