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Geoffrey K. Aguirre; Variation in Temporal Stimulus Integration Across Visual Cortex. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1371. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.1371.
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Object percept is shaped by the long-term average of experience as well as immediate, comparative context. Measurements of brain activity have demonstrated corresponding neural mechanisms, including norm-based responses reflective of stored prototype representations, and adaptation induced by the immediately preceding stimulus. Our recent work examines the time-scale of integration of sensory information, and explicitly tests the idea that the apparently separate phenomena of norm-based coding and adaptation can arise from a single mechanism of sensory integration operating over varying timescales. We used functional MRI to measure neural responses from the fusiform gyrus while subjects observed a rapid stream of face stimuli. Neural activity at this cortical site was best explained by the integration of sensory experience over multiple sequential stimuli, following a decaying-exponential weighting function. While this neural activity could be mistaken for immediate neural adaptation or long-term, norm-based responses, it in fact reflected a timescale of integration intermediate to both. We then examined the timescale of sensory integration across the cortex. We found a gradient that ranged from rapid sensory integration in early visual areas, to long-term, stable representations towards higher-level, ventral-temporal cortex. These findings were replicated with a new set of face stimuli and subjects. Our results suggest that a cascade of visual areas integrate sensory experience, transforming highly adaptable responses at early stages to stable representations at higher levels.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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