Poster C131, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Scenes shape the neural representation of objects
Talia Brandman1, Marius Peelen1; 1University of Trento
Scene context strongly shapes our perception of objects in everyday life, such as when we make out the shape of a distant boat on the water. However, until now, vision neuroscience has largely focused on the dissociation between scene- and object-selective neural pathways, leaving their interaction largely unexplored. Here we used a novel approach in behavioral, fMRI and MEG studies to reveal how scene and object neural processing pathways interact to support context-based perception. Participants viewed degraded objects that were hard to recognize when presented in isolation but easy to recognize within scene context. fMRI results showed that the multivariate representation of the objects’ category (animate/inanimate) in object-selective cortex was strongly enhanced by the presence of scene context, even though the scenes alone did not evoke category-selective response patterns. This effect was modulated by concurrent activity in the scene-selective retrosplenial complex. MEG results revealed that scene-based facilitation of category decoding peaked at 320 ms after stimulus onset. Altogether, these results characterize functional interactions between scene- and object-processing pathways, showing that expectations derived from scene context, processed in scene-selective cortex, feed back to shape object representations in visual cortex. Thereby, our findings demonstrate the inferential nature of perception as applied to the visual processing of objects in real-world scenes.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Vision