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Pankhuri Malik, Joost C. Dessing, J. Douglas Crawford; Role of early visual cortex in trans-saccadic memory of object features. Journal of Vision 2015;15(11):7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.11.7.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Early visual cortex (EVC) participates in visual feature memory and the updating of remembered locations across saccades, but its role in the trans-saccadic integration of object features is unknown. We hypothesized that if EVC is involved in updating object features relative to gaze, feature memory should be disrupted when saccades remap an object representation into a simultaneously perturbed EVC site. To test this, we applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over functional magnetic resonance imaging–localized EVC clusters corresponding to the bottom left/right visual quadrants (VQs). During experiments, these VQs were probed psychophysically by briefly presenting a central object (Gabor patch) while subjects fixated gaze to the right or left (and above). After a short memory interval, participants were required to detect the relative change in orientation of a re-presented test object at the same spatial location. Participants either sustained fixation during the memory interval (fixation task) or made a horizontal saccade that either maintained or reversed the VQ of the object (saccade task). Three TMS pulses (coinciding with the pre-, peri-, and postsaccade intervals) were applied to the left or right EVC. This had no effect when (a) fixation was maintained, (b) saccades kept the object in the same VQ, or (c) the EVC quadrant corresponding to the first object was stimulated. However, as predicted, TMS reduced performance when saccades (especially larger saccades) crossed the remembered object location and brought it into the VQ corresponding to the TMS site. This suppression effect was statistically significant for leftward saccades and followed a weaker trend for rightward saccades. These causal results are consistent with the idea that EVC is involved in the gaze-centered updating of object features for trans-saccadic memory and perception.
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