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J Vis. 2018 Nov 1;18(12):6. doi: 10.1167/18.12.6.

Magnetoencephalography adaptation reveals depth-cue-invariant object representations in the visual cortex.

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McGill Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Independent of edges and 2-D shape that can be highly informative of object identity, depth cues alone can also give rise to vivid and effective object percepts. The processing of different depth cues engages segregated cortical areas, and an efficient object representation would be one that is invariant to depth cues. Here, we investigated depth-cue invariance of object representations by measuring the category-specific response to faces-the M170 response measured with magnetoencephalography. The M170 response is strongest to faces and is sensitive to adaptation, such that repeated presentation of a face diminishes subsequent M170 responses. We used this feature of the M170 and measured the degree to which the adaptation effect is affected by variations in depth cue and 3-D object shape. Subjects viewed a rapid presentation of two stimuli-an adaptor and a test stimulus. The adaptor was either a face, a chair, or a face-like oval surface, and rendered with a single depth cue (shading, structure from motion, or texture). The test stimulus was always a shaded face of a random identity, thus completely controlling for low-level influences on the M170 response to the test stimulus. In the left fusiform face area, we found strong M170 adaptation when the adaptor was a face regardless of its depth cue. This adaptation was marginal in the right fusiform and negligible in the occipital regions. Our results support the presence of depth-cue-invariant representations in the human visual system, alongside size, position, and viewpoint invariance.


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