December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Full-field fMRI: a novel approach to study immersive vision
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeongho Park
    Harvard University
  • Edward Soucy
    Harvard University
  • Jennifer Segawa
    Harvard University
  • Talia Konkle
    Harvard University
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  R21EY031867
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 4018. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.14.4018
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      Jeongho Park, Edward Soucy, Jennifer Segawa, Talia Konkle; Full-field fMRI: a novel approach to study immersive vision. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):4018. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.14.4018.

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

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Abstract

In everyday vision, we experience an >180 degree view of the world in front of us. However, traditional functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) setups are limited to presenting scenes like postcards in the central 10-15 degrees of the visual field. Here, we develop a method for ultra-wide angle visual presentation in the scanner, and explore how the brain processes visual scene information when presented with immersive first-person views. To accomplish wide-angle projection, we bounced the image off two angled mirrors directly into the scanner bore onto a custom-built curved screen, creating an unobstructed visual presentation of over 175 degrees. Additionally, we presented images that depicted a compatible wide field-of-view, rendered from 3D scenes built in Unity software; using standard scene images led to distorted perceptions of the environment. With this setup, we measured brain responses to a range of stimuli, including scene images presented in the full-field and at a typical smaller visual size. We found that all classic scene areas (parahippocampal place area, retrosplenial cortex, and occipital place area) were activated significantly more to the full-field scenes compared to the postcard scenes, indicating their preference for the far-periphery. Crucially, we found that a large swath of cortex connecting these areas was also strongly activated by the full-field more than the postcard scenes, forming a ring-shape around the parieto-occipital sulcus. Theoretically, these findings raise an intriguing possibility that there are representational principles unifying what are currently considered separate scene-selective regions within a common large-scale organization. Methodologically, our approach provides a novel avenue to test hypotheses relating to the foveal-peripheral organization of higher-level visual areas, and measure scene processing mechanisms with an immersive experience of scale.

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