September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
How are objects represented during dynamic occlusion?
Author Affiliations
  • Lina Teichmann
    National Institute of Mental Health
    Macquarie University
  • Denise Moerel
    Macquarie University
  • Anina Rich
    Macquarie University
  • Baker Chris
    National Institute of Mental Health
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2900. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.2900
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      Lina Teichmann, Denise Moerel, Anina Rich, Baker Chris; How are objects represented during dynamic occlusion?. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2900. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.2900.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Objects often disappear briefly from sight due to occlusion. Despite these gaps in incoming visual information, we generally have a strong experience that the object persists. This suggests that neural object representations are maintained throughout dynamic occlusion. However, it is unclear what the nature of such representation is and in particular whether it is perceptual-like, reflecting the same features represented when visible, or more abstract, for example, reflecting limited features such as position or movement direction only. In the current study, we used Magnetoencephalography (MEG) data to track how object representations unfold over time, before, during, and after occlusion, by examining when information about a specific object feature is present in the signal. Participants viewed objects differing in shape and colour as they moved on a circular trajectory and could be occluded at one of four possible locations. We used whole-head multivariate pattern analyses across MEG sensors to test when different object features (e.g., shape, position) are present in the neural signal. When visible, information about object identity and position was clearly evident in the MEG signal. Importantly, our data suggest that the neural object representation during occlusion also contains information both about the object’s identity and position, at least during the initial stage of occlusion. Uncovering the temporal dynamics of neural object representations throughout occlusion helps reveal how the visual system overcomes perceptual gaps to support the perception of a meaningful, continuous stream of information.

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