June 2013
Volume 54, Issue 15
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2013
Neural substrates of perceptual integration during bistable object perception
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anastasia Flevaris
    Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
    Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA
  • Antigona Martinez
    Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA
    Nathan Kline Institute, New York, NY
  • Steven Hillyard
    Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships Anastasia Flevaris, None; Antigona Martinez, None; Steven Hillyard, None
  • Footnotes
    Support None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2013, Vol.54, 581. doi:
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      Anastasia Flevaris, Antigona Martinez, Steven Hillyard; Neural substrates of perceptual integration during bistable object perception. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):581.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: Object perception depends not only on physical stimulus properties but also on endogenous, top-down factors that affect the observer’s perceptual state. In this study we equated physical properties to investigate the neural mechanisms of top-down contributions in object perception.

Methods: We recorded EEG and compared neural activity elicited by varying perceptions of the same physical image - a bistable moving image in which perception spontaneously alternates between dissociated fragments and a single, unified object.

Results: A time-frequency analysis of EEG changes associated with the perceptual switch from object to fragment and vice versa revealed a greater decrease in alpha band (8-12Hz) power accompanying the switch to object-percept than to fragment-percept. Recordings of event-related potentials elicited by irrelevant probe flashes superimposed on the image revealed an enhanced positivity in the latency range of the P2 component (~184-212ms) when the probes were contained within the perceived unitary object. The topography of this positivity elicited by probes during object- relative to fragment-perception was distinct from the topography of the P2 elicited by probes during fragment perception, suggesting that neural processing of probes differed as a function of perceptual state. Two source localization algorithms estimated the neural generator of the difference positivity to lie in the lateral occipital cortex (LOC), a region associated with object perception.

Conclusions: These data suggest that objects attract attention and modulate the processing of individual elements occurring within their boundaries, perhaps reflecting the perceptual binding of the elements into a unified object. Importantly, these effects were observed when the perceived "object" in this case emerged as a function of the fluctuating perceptual state of the viewer.

Keywords: 641 perception  

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