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Publication Detail
The impact of distractor congruency on stimulus processing in retinotopic visual cortex.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Kelley TA, Rees G, Lavie N
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    158, 163
  • Journal:
  • Volume:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Attention, Flanker, Response competition, Retinotopic cortex, V1, fMRI, Adolescent, Adult, Attention, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Visual Cortex, Visual Perception, Young Adult
The brain is frequently confronted with sensory information that elicits conflicting response choices. While much research has addressed the top down control mechanisms associated with detection and resolution of response competition, the effects of response competition on sensory processing in the primary visual cortex remain unclear. To address this question we modified a typical 'flanker task' (Eriksen and Eriksen, 1974) so that the effects of response competition on human early retinotopic visual cortex could be assessed. Healthy human participants were scanned using fMRI while making a speeded choice response that classified a target object image into one of two categories (e.g. fruits, animals). An irrelevant distractor image that was either congruent (same image as target), incongruent (image from opposite category as target), or neutral (image from task-irrelevant category, e.g. household items) was also present on each trial, but in a different quadrant of the visual field relative to the target. Retinotopic V1 areas responding to the target stimuli showed increased response to targets in the presence of response-incongruent (compared to response-neutral) distractors. A negative correlation with behavioral response competition effects indicated that an increased primary visual cortical response to targets in the incongruent (vs. neutral) trials is associated with a reduced response competition effect on behavior. These results suggest a novel conflict resolution mechanism in the primary visual cortex.
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