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A neural mechanism for contextualizing fragmented inputs during naturalistic vision

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JournaleLife
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Oct 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 9 Oct 2019
Volume8
Early online date9/10/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

With every glimpse of our eyes, we sample only a small and incomplete fragment of the visual world, which needs to be contextualized and integrated into a coherent scene representation. Here we show that the visual system achieves this contextualization by exploiting spatial schemata, that is our knowledge about the composition of natural scenes. We measured fMRI and EEG responses to incomplete scene fragments and used representational similarity analysis to reconstruct their cortical representations in space and time. We observed a sorting of representations according to the fragments' place within the scene schema, which occurred during perceptual analysis in the occipital place area and within the first 200ms of vision. This schema-based coding operates flexibly across visual features (as measured by a deep neural network model) and different types of environments (indoor and outdoor scenes). This flexibility highlights the mechanism's ability to efficiently organize incoming information under dynamic real-world conditions.

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© 2019, Kaiser et al.

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