Representation of symmetry in the extrastriate visual cortex from temporal integration of parts: An EEG/ERP study

Rampone, Giulia ORCID: 0000-0002-2710-688X, Makin, Alexis DJ ORCID: 0000-0002-4490-7400, Tatlidil, Semir and Bertamini, Marco ORCID: 0000-0001-8617-6864
(2019) Representation of symmetry in the extrastriate visual cortex from temporal integration of parts: An EEG/ERP study. NEUROIMAGE, 193. pp. 214-230.

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When symmetry is present in the retinal image, a symmetry-sensitive network in the extrastriate visual areas activates, and response magnitude scales with degree of regularity. Is this activation driven by the regularity in the image, or can the network recover regularity of an object? We investigated whether the network responds to bilateral symmetry for dynamically occluded shapes, and thus responds to symmetry in the object. The stimulus was an irregular shape partly occluded by a rectangle. After 500 ms, the rectangle was displaced to the other side, occluding the previously visible half, and revealing the other half for 1000 ms. Therefore, no symmetry was present in the image at any point in time. Exp.1 and Exp.2 used vertical and horizontal axis of reflection, and in Exp. 3 there was no occluder. Participants could detect symmetry with >80% accuracy. More importantly, ERP analysis showed a symmetry-specific response from ∼300 ms after presentation of the second half of the shape. When integration was made from halves of asymmetric whole shapes (Exp.4), and when symmetry was not task-relevant (Exp.5), no symmetry response was recorded. The results show, for the first time, an electrophysiological evidence of symmetry representation in the brain obtained by assembling information over time into a unitary gestalt. The integration process occurs when observers look for symmetric matches between the parts, and only if these are perceived as belonging to the same object.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Visual occlusion, Non-retinotopic sensory memory (nrSM), Objectness, SPN, LOC
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2019 16:27
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:57
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.007
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