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Masking reveals parallel form systems in the visual brain

Lo, YT; Zeki, S; (2014) Masking reveals parallel form systems in the visual brain. Front Hum Neurosci , 8 , Article 567. 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00567. Green open access

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Abstract

It is generally supposed that there is a single, hierarchically organized pathway dedicated to form processing, in which complex forms are elaborated from simpler ones, beginning with the orientation-selective cells of V1. In this psychophysical study, we undertook to test another hypothesis, namely that the brain's visual form system consists of multiple parallel systems and that complex forms are other than the sum of their parts. Inspired by imaging experiments which show that forms of increasing perceptual complexity (lines, angles, and rhombuses) constituted from the same elements (lines) activate the same visual areas (V1, V2, and V3) with the same intensity and latency (Shigihara and Zeki, 2013, 2014), we used backward masking to test the supposition that these forms are processed in parallel. We presented subjects with lines, angles, and rhombuses as different target-mask pairs. Evidence in favor of our supposition would be if masking is the most effective when target and mask are processed by the same system and least effective when they are processed in different systems. Our results showed that rhombuses were strongly masked by rhombuses but only weakly masked by lines or angles, but angles and lines were well masked by each other. The relative resistance of rhombuses to masking by low-level forms like lines and angles suggests that complex forms like rhombuses may be processed in a separate parallel system, whereas lines and angles are processed in the same one.

Type: Article
Title: Masking reveals parallel form systems in the visual brain
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00567
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00567
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2014 Lo and Zeki. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: form perception, hierarchical model, parallel processing, visual masking
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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 Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1450654
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