Imagery and perception share cortical representations of content and location.
Cichy RM, Heinzle J, Haynes JD.
Published in Cereb Cortex. 2012 Feb;22(2):372-80.
Visual imagery allows us to vividly imagine scenes in the absence of visual stimulation. The likeness of visual imagery to visual perception suggests that they might share neural mechanisms in the brain. Here, we directly investigated whether perception and visual imagery share cortical representations. Specifically, we used a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and multivariate pattern classification to assess whether imagery and perception encode the "category" of objects and their "location" in a similar fashion. Our results indicate that the fMRI response patterns for different categories of imagined objects can be used to predict the fMRI response patters for seen objects. Similarly, we found a shared representation of location in low-level and high-level ventral visual cortex. Thus, our results support the view that imagery and perception are based on similar neural representations.
Encoding the identity and location of objects in human LOC.
Cichy RM, Chen Y, Haynes JD.
Published in Neuroimage. 2011 Feb 1;54(3):2297-307.
We are able to recognize objects independent of their location in the visual field. At the same time, we also keep track of the location of objects to orient ourselves and to interact with the environment. The lateral occipital complex (LOC) has been suggested as the prime cortical region for representation of object identity. However, the extent to which LOC also represents object location has remained debated. In this study we used high-resolution fMRI in combination with multivoxel pattern classification to investigate the cortical encoding of three object exemplars from four different categories presented in two different locations. This approach allowed us to study location-tolerant object information and object-tolerant location information in LOC, both at the level of categories and exemplars. We found evidence for both location-tolerant object information and object-tolerant location information in LOC at the level of categories and exemplars. Our results further highlight the mixing of identity and location information in the ventral visual pathway.