DOI: 10.1101/496539Dec 13, 2018Paper

Using neural distance to predict reaction time for categorizing the animacy, shape, and abstract properties of objects

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
J Brendan Ritchie, Hans Op de Beeck


A large number of neuroimaging studies have shown that information about object category can be decoded from regions of the ventral visual pathway. One question is how this information might be functionally exploited in the brain. In an attempt to answer this question, some studies have adopted a neural distance-to-bound approach, and shown that distance to a classifier decision boundary through neural activation space can be used to predict reaction times (RT) on animacy categorization tasks. However, these experiments have not controlled for possible visual confounds, such as shape, in their stimulus design. In the present study we sought to determine whether, when animacy and shape properties are orthogonal, neural distance in low- and high-level visual cortex would predict categorization RTs. We also investigated whether a combination of animacy and shape distance might predict RTs when categories crisscrossed the two stimulus dimensions, and so were not linearly separable. In line with previous results, we found that RTs correlated with neural distance, but only for animate stimuli, with similar, though weaker, asymmetric effects for the shape and crisscrossing tasks. Taken together, these results suggest there is potentia...Continue Reading

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