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Karl Zipser; Visualizing fMRI BOLD responses to diverse naturalistic scenes using retinotopic projection. Journal of Vision 2017;17(6):18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.6.18.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To view brain activity in register with visual stimuli, a technique here referred to as “retinotopic projection,” which translates functional measurements into retinotopic space, is employed. Retinotopic projection is here first applied to a previously acquired fMRI dataset in which a large set of grayscale photos of real scenes were presented to three subjects. A simple model of local contrast integration accounts for much of the data in early visual areas (V1 and V2). However, consistent discrepancies were discovered: Human faces tend to evoke stronger responses relative to other scene elements than predicted by the model, whereas periodic patterns evoke weaker responses than predicted by the model. Next, in new fMRI experiments, three subjects directed attention toward various elements of naturalistic scenes (Vermeer paintings). Retinotopic projection applied to these data showed that attending to an object increased activation in cortex corresponding to the location of that object. Together the results suggest that even during passive viewing, the visual system differentially processes natural scenes in a manner consistent with deployment of visual attention to salient elements.
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