Mar 29, 2020

Visual featural topography in the human ventral visual pathway

Krishna VeeramahMichael F Hammer


Visual object recognition in humans and nonhuman primates is achieved by the ventral visual pathway (ventral occipital-temporal cortex: VOTC). A classical debate is whether the seemingly domain-based structure in higher-order VOTC simply reflects distributional patterns of certain visual features. Combining computational vision models, fMRI experiments using a parametric-modulation approach, and natural image statistics of common objects, we depicted the neural distribution of a comprehensive set of visual features in VOTC, identifying voxel sensitivities to specific feature sets across geometry/shape, Fourier power, and color. We found that VOTCs sensitivity pattern to these visual features fully predicts its domain-based organization (adjusted R2 around .95), and is partly independent of object domain information. The visual feature sensitivity pattern, in turn, is significantly explained by relationships to types of response/action computation (Navigation, Fight- or-Flight, and Manipulation), more so than the "object domain" structure, as revealed by behavioral ratings and natural image statistics. These results offer the first comprehensive visual featural map in VOTC and a plausible theoretical explanation as a mapping ont...Continue Reading

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