Perceiving the Tree in the Woods: Segregating Brain Responses to Stimuli Constituting Natural Scenes

Autor(en): Martens, Ulla
Trujillo-Barreto, Nelson
Gruber, Thomas 
Stichwörter: CORTEX; FIELD POTENTIALS; HEMISPHERIC ASYMMETRIES; MEDIAL TEMPORAL-LOBE; Neurosciences; Neurosciences & Neurology; RECOGNITION; SELECTIVE ATTENTION; STEADY-STATE; VISUAL-EVOKED-POTENTIALS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2011
Herausgeber: SOC NEUROSCIENCE
Journal: JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE
Volumen: 31
Ausgabe: 48
Startseite: 17713
Seitenende: 17718
Zusammenfassung: 
Conventional neuroscientific methods are inadequate for separating the brain responses related to the simultaneous processing of different parts of a natural scene. In the present human electroencephalogram (EEG) study, we overcame this limitation by tagging concurrently presented backgrounds and objects with different presentation frequencies. As a result, background and object elicited different steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs), which were separately quantified in the frequency domain. We analyzed the effects of semantic consistency and inconsistency between background and object on SSVEP amplitudes, topography, and tomography [variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA)]. The results revealed that SSVEPs related to background processing showed higher amplitudes in the consistent as opposed to the inconsistent condition, whereas object-related SSVEPs showed the reversed pattern of effects. Given the SSVEPs' sensitivity to visual attention, the results indicate that semantic inconsistency leads to greater attention focused on the object. If all image parts are semantically related, attention is rather directed to the background. The attentional advantage to inconsistent objects in a scene is likely the result of a mismatch between background-based expectations and semantic object information. A clear lateralization of the consistency effect in the anterior temporal lobes indicates functional hemispheric asymmetries in processing background-and object-related semantic information. In summary, the present study is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of SSVEPs to unravel the respective contributions of concurrent neuronal processes involved in the perception of background and object.
ISSN: 02706474
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4743-11.2011

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