- Separate cortical stages in amodal completion revealed by functional magnetic resonance adaptation : research article (2007)
- Background Objects in our environment are often partly occluded, yet we effortlessly perceive them as whole and complete. This phenomenon is called visual amodal completion. Psychophysical investigations suggest that the process of completion starts from a representation of the (visible) physical features of the stimulus and ends with a completed representation of the stimulus. The goal of our study was to investigate both stages of the completion process by localizing both brain regions involved in processing the physical features of the stimulus as well as brain regions representing the completed stimulus. Results Using fMRI adaptation we reveal clearly distinct regions in the visual cortex of humans involved in processing of amodal completion: early visual cortex - presumably V1 - processes the local contour information of the stimulus whereas regions in the inferior temporal cortex represent the completed shape. Furthermore, our data suggest that at the level of inferior temporal cortex information regarding the original local contour information is not preserved but replaced by the representation of the amodally completed percept. Conclusion These findings provide neuroimaging evidence for a multiple step theory of amodal completion and further insights into the neuronal correlates of visual perception.
- Interpret und kreativer Lückenfüller : wie optische Illusionen in der Großhirnrinde entstehen (2005)
- Optische Täuschungen sind nicht nur kuriose Beispiele dafür, wie leicht unser ahrnehmungsapparat »ausgetrickst« werden kann, sie werden seit langem von Psychologen und Kognitionsforschern genutzt, um das visuelle System und seine neurophysiologischen Prinzipien zu erforschen. Auch Scheinbewegungen gehören zu diesen Täuschungen: Sie entstehen durch den schnellen Wechsel statischer Bilder. Frankfurter Wissenschaftler des Max-Planck-Instituts für Hirnforschung konnten mit Hilfe der funktionellen Magnetresonanztomografie zeigen, wie das Gehirn die Illusion einer Bewegung erzeugt, obwohl der gebotene Reiz nur aus benachbarten, abwechselnd aufblinkenden Quadraten bestand. Hier wird nicht nur das konstruktive Prinzip deutlich, mit dem das visuelle System arbeitet, mehr noch: Die Großhirnrinde betätigt sich als »kreativer Lückenfüller«, der aktiv fehlende Sinnesdaten zu »plausiblen« Gesamteindrücken ergänzt.
- Primary visual cortex activity along the apparent-motion trace reflects illusory perception (2005)
- The illusion of apparent motion can be induced when visual stimuli are successively presented at different locations. It has been shown in previous studies that motion-sensitive regions in extrastriate cortex are relevant for the processing of apparent motion, but it is unclear whether primary visual cortex (V1) is also involved in the representation of the illusory motion path. We investigated, in human subjects, apparent-motion-related activity in patches of V1 representing locations along the path of illusory stimulus motion using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Here we show that apparent motion caused a blood-oxygenation-level-dependent response along the V1 representations of the apparent-motion path, including regions that were not directly activated by the apparent-motion-inducing stimuli. This response was unaltered when participants had to perform an attention-demanding task that diverted their attention away from the stimulus. With a bistable motion quartet, we confirmed that the activity was related to the conscious perception of movement. Our data suggest that V1 is part of the network that represents the illusory path of apparent motion. The activation in V1 can be explained either by lateral interactions within V1 or by feedback mechanisms from higher visual areas, especially the motion-sensitive human MT/V5 complex.
- Methods for dichoptic stimulus presentation in functional magnetic resonance imaging : a review (2009)
- Dichoptic stimuli (different stimuli displayed to each eye) are increasingly being used in functional brain imaging experiments using visual stimulation. These studies include investigation into binocular rivalry, interocular information transfer, three-dimensional depth perception as well as impairments of the visual system like amblyopia and stereodeficiency. In this paper, we review various approaches of displaying dichoptic stimulus used in functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments. These include traditional approaches of using filters (red-green, red-blue, polarizing) with optical assemblies as well as newer approaches of using bi-screen goggles.
- Cortical plasticity of audio–visual object representations (2008)
- Several regions in human temporal and frontal cortex are known to integrate visual and auditory object features. The processing of audio–visual (AV) associations in these regions has been found to be modulated by object familiarity. The aim of the present study was to explore training-induced plasticity in human cortical AV integration. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to analyze the neural correlates of AV integration for unfamiliar artificial object sounds and images in naïve subjects (PRE training) and after a behavioral training session in which subjects acquired associations between some of these sounds and images (POST-training). In the PRE-training session, unfamiliar artificial object sounds and images were mainly integrated in right inferior frontal cortex (IFC). The POST-training results showed extended integration-related IFC activations bilaterally, and a recruitment of additional regions in bilateral superior temporal gyrus/sulcus and intraparietal sulcus. Furthermore, training-induced differential response patterns to mismatching compared with matching (i.e., associated) artificial AV stimuli were most pronounced in left IFC. These effects were accompanied by complementary training-induced congruency effects in right posterior middle temporal gyrus and fusiform gyrus. Together, these findings demonstrate that short-term cross-modal association learning was sufficient to induce plastic changes of both AV integration of object stimuli and mechanisms of AV congruency processing.
- Performance- and stimulus-dependent oscillations in monkey prefrontal cortex during short-term memory (2009)
- Short-term memory requires the coordination of sub-processes like encoding, retention, retrieval and comparison of stored material to subsequent input. Neuronal oscillations have an inherent time structure, can effectively coordinate synaptic integration of large neuron populations and could therefore organize and integrate distributed sub-processes in time and space. We observed field potential oscillations (14–95 Hz) in ventral prefrontal cortex of monkeys performing a visual memory task. Stimulus-selective and performance-dependent oscillations occurred simultaneously at 65–95 Hz and 14–50 Hz, the latter being phase-locked throughout memory maintenance. We propose that prefrontal oscillatory activity may be instrumental for the dynamical integration of local and global neuronal processes underlying short-term memory.
- Investigating human audio-visual object perception with a combination of hypothesis-generating and hypothesis-testing fMRI analysis tools (2011)
- Primate multisensory object perception involves distributed brain regions. To investigate the network character of these regions of the human brain, we applied data-driven group spatial independent component analysis (ICA) to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data set acquired during a passive audio-visual (AV) experiment with common object stimuli. We labeled three group-level independent component (IC) maps as auditory (A), visual (V), and AV, based on their spatial layouts and activation time courses. The overlap between these IC maps served as definition of a distributed network of multisensory candidate regions including superior temporal, ventral occipito-temporal, posterior parietal and prefrontal regions. During an independent second fMRI experiment, we explicitly tested their involvement in AV integration. Activations in nine out of these twelve regions met the max-criterion (A < AV > V) for multisensory integration. Comparison of this approach with a general linear model-based region-of-interest definition revealed its complementary value for multisensory neuroimaging. In conclusion, we estimated functional networks of uni- and multisensory functional connectivity from one dataset and validated their functional roles in an independent dataset. These findings demonstrate the particular value of ICA for multisensory neuroimaging research and using independent datasets to test hypotheses generated from a data-driven analysis.
- The timing of feedback to early visual cortex in the perception of long-range apparent motion (2008)
- When 2 visual stimuli are presented one after another in different locations, they are often perceived as one, but moving object. Feedback from area human motion complex hMT/V5+ to V1 has been hypothesized to play an important role in this illusory perception of motion. We measured event-related responses to illusory motion stimuli of varying apparent motion (AM) content and retinal location using Electroencephalography. Detectable cortical stimulus processing started around 60-ms poststimulus in area V1. This component was insensitive to AM content and sequential stimulus presentation. Sensitivity to AM content was observed starting around 90 ms post the second stimulus of a sequence and most likely originated in area hMT/V5+. This AM sensitive response was insensitive to retinal stimulus position. The stimulus sequence related response started to be sensitive to retinal stimulus position at a longer latency of 110 ms. We interpret our findings as evidence for feedback from area hMT/V5+ or a related motion processing area to early visual cortices (V1, V2, V3).