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Neuroimage. 2019 Jul 1;194:12-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.031. Epub 2019 Mar 17.

The spatiotemporal neural dynamics underlying perceived similarity for real-world objects.

Author information

1
Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: rmcichy@zedat.fu-berlin.de.
2
Department of Psychology, Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA.
3
Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
4
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
5
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Abstract

The degree to which we perceive real-world objects as similar or dissimilar structures our perception and guides categorization behavior. Here, we investigated the neural representations enabling perceived similarity using behavioral judgments, fMRI and MEG. As different object dimensions co-occur and partly correlate, to understand the relationship between perceived similarity and brain activity it is necessary to assess the unique role of multiple object dimensions. We thus behaviorally assessed perceived object similarity in relation to shape, function, color and background. We then used representational similarity analyses to relate these behavioral judgments to brain activity. We observed a link between each object dimension and representations in visual cortex. These representations emerged rapidly within 200 ms of stimulus onset. Assessing the unique role of each object dimension revealed partly overlapping and distributed representations: while color-related representations distinctly preceded shape-related representations both in the processing hierarchy of the ventral visual pathway and in time, several dimensions were linked to high-level ventral visual cortex. Further analysis singled out the shape dimension as neither fully accounted for by supra-category membership, nor a deep neural network trained on object categorization. Together our results comprehensively characterize the relationship between perceived similarity of key object dimensions and neural activity.

KEYWORDS:

MEG; Object recognition; Perceived similarity; Visual perception; fMRI

PMID:
30894333
PMCID:
PMC6547050
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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