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The distinct and overlapping brain networks supporting semantic and spatial constructive scene processing

McCormick, C; Maguire, EA; (2021) The distinct and overlapping brain networks supporting semantic and spatial constructive scene processing. Neuropsychologia , 158 , Article 107912. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107912. Green open access

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Abstract

Scene imagery features prominently when we recall autobiographical memories, imagine the future and navigate around in the world. Consequently, in this study we sought to better understand how scene representations are supported by the brain. Processing scenes involves a variety of cognitive processes that in the real world are highly interactive. Here, however, our goal was to separate semantic and spatial constructive scene processes in order to identify the brain areas that were distinct to each process, those they had in common, and the connectivity between regions. To this end, participants searched for either semantic or spatial constructive impossibilities in scenes during functional MRI. We focussed our analyses on only those scenes that were possible, thus removing any error detection that would evoke reactions such as surprise or novelty. Importantly, we also counterbalanced possible scenes across participants, enabling us to examine brain activity and connectivity for the same possible scene images under two different conditions. We found that participants adopted different cognitive strategies, which were reflected in distinct oculomotor behaviour, for each condition. These were in turn associated with increased engagement of lateral temporal and parietal cortices for semantic scene processing, the hippocampus for spatial constructive scene processing, and increased activation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) that was common to both. Connectivity analyses showed that the vmPFC switched between semantic and spatial constructive brain networks depending on the task at hand. These findings further highlight the well-known semantic functions of lateral temporal areas, while providing additional support for the previously-asserted contribution of the hippocampus to scene construction, and recent suggestions that the vmPFC may play a key role in orchestrating scene processing.

Type: Article
Title: The distinct and overlapping brain networks supporting semantic and spatial constructive scene processing
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107912
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.10...
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: functional and effective connectivity, hippocampus, impossible scenes, scene construction, semantic, ventromedial prefrontal cortex
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129680
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