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Farzad Ramezani, Saeed Reza Kheradpisheh, Simon J. Thorpe, Masoud Ghodrati; Object categorization in visual periphery is modulated by delayed foveal noise. Journal of Vision 2019;19(9):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.9.1.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Behavioral studies in humans indicate that peripheral vision can do object recognition to some extent. Moreover, recent studies have shown that some information from brain regions retinotopic to visual periphery is somehow fed back to regions retinotopic to the fovea and disrupting this feedback impairs object recognition in human. However, it is unclear to what extent the information in visual periphery contributes to human object categorization. Here, we designed two series of rapid object categorization tasks to first investigate the performance of human peripheral vision in categorizing natural object images at different eccentricities and abstraction levels (superordinate, basic, and subordinate). Then, using a delayed foveal noise mask, we studied how modulating the foveal representation impacts peripheral object categorization at any of the abstraction levels. We found that peripheral vision can quickly and accurately accomplish superordinate categorization, while its performance in finer categorization levels dramatically drops as the object presents further in the periphery. Also, we found that a 300-ms delayed foveal noise mask can significantly disturb categorization performance in basic and subordinate levels, while it has no effect on the superordinate level. Our results suggest that human peripheral vision can easily process objects at high abstraction levels, and the information is fed back to foveal vision to prime foveal cortex for finer categorizations when a saccade is made toward the target object.
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