Early processing in the human lateral occipital complex is highly responsive to illusory contours but not to salient regions

Marina Shpaner, Micah M. Murray, John J. Foxe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Human electrophysiological studies support a model whereby sensitivity to so-called illusory contour stimuli is first seen within the lateral occipital complex. A challenge to this model posits that the lateral occipital complex is a general site for crude region-based segmentation, based on findings of equivalent hemodynamic activations in the lateral occipital complex to illusory contour and so-called salient region stimuli, a stimulus class that lacks the classic bounding contours of illusory contours. Using high-density electrical mapping of visual evoked potentials, we show that early lateral occipital cortex activity is substantially stronger to illusory contour than to salient region stimuli, whereas later lateral occipital complex activity is stronger to salient region than to illusory contour stimuli. Our results suggest that equivalent hemodynamic activity to illusory contour and salient region stimuli probably reflects temporally integrated responses, a result of the poor temporal resolution of hemodynamic imaging. The temporal precision of visual evoked potentials is critical for establishing viable models of completion processes and visual scene analysis. We propose that crude spatial segmentation analyses, which are insensitive to illusory contours, occur first within dorsal visual regions, not the lateral occipital complex, and that initial illusory contour sensitivity is a function of the lateral occipital complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2018-2028
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume30
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2009

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Keywords

  • Event-related potentials
  • Filling-in
  • Object recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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