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Koorosh Mirpour, James Bisley, Wei Song Ong; A dynamic representation of shape similarity in the lateral intraparietal area. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):290. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.290.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual object recognition in primates is a very efficient and reliable cognitive ability. Psychophysical studies have shown that flexibility, efficiency and performance of visual object recognition is achieved by the representation of shape similarities as opposed to the representation of shapes themselves. Stable versions of such neural representations have been found in the ventral pathway of non-human primates. However, some aspects of visual object recognition require dynamic comparisons of the shape similarity in context of a goal oriented task. This form of representation is more likely to appear in area that can integrate bottom-up sensory with top-down task relevant information. We tested whether neurons in the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) of posterior parietal cortex could fulfill this role by collating information from object specific similarity map representations to allow general decisions about whether a stimulus matches the object being looked for. We found that when animals compared two peripheral stimuli to a sample at their fovea, the response to the matching target remained stable, but the response to the distractor depended on how similar it is to the sample: the more similar, the greater the response to the distractor. Our data suggest that mental comparisons may utilize a dynamic perceptual similarity representation in LIP, which bridges object information from the ventral stream with decision making activity in pre-frontal cortex.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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