A link between visual disambiguation and visual memory

Jay Hegde, Daniel Kersten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sensory information in the retinal image is typically too ambiguous to support visual object recognition by itself. Theories of visual disambiguation posit that to disambiguate, and thus interpret, the incoming images, the visual system must integrate the sensory information with previous knowledge of the visual world. However, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of human subjects, we have found evidence for functional specialization for storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images. Subjects viewed two-tone, "Mooney" images, which are typically ambiguous when seen for the first time but are quickly disambiguated after viewing the corresponding unambiguous color images. Activity in one set of regions, including a region in the medial parietal cortex previously reported to play a key role in Mooney image disambiguation, closely reflected memory for previously seen color images but not the subsequent disambiguation of Mooney images. A second set of regions, including the superior temporal sulcus, showed the opposite pattern, in that their responses closely reflected the subjects' percepts of the disambiguated Mooney images on a stimulus-to-stimulus basis but not the memory of the corresponding color images. Functional connectivity between the two sets of regions was stronger during those trials in which the disambiguated percept was stronger. This functional interaction between brain regions that specialize in storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images may represent a general mechanism by which previous knowledge disambiguates visual sensory information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15124-15133
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume30
Issue number45
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2010

Fingerprint

Color
Parietal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Brain
Recognition (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

A link between visual disambiguation and visual memory. / Hegde, Jay; Kersten, Daniel.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 30, No. 45, 10.11.2010, p. 15124-15133.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hegde, Jay ; Kersten, Daniel. / A link between visual disambiguation and visual memory. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 ; Vol. 30, No. 45. pp. 15124-15133.
@article{2637598193694a78a82fe708fac4f2fe,
title = "A link between visual disambiguation and visual memory",
abstract = "Sensory information in the retinal image is typically too ambiguous to support visual object recognition by itself. Theories of visual disambiguation posit that to disambiguate, and thus interpret, the incoming images, the visual system must integrate the sensory information with previous knowledge of the visual world. However, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of human subjects, we have found evidence for functional specialization for storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images. Subjects viewed two-tone, {"}Mooney{"} images, which are typically ambiguous when seen for the first time but are quickly disambiguated after viewing the corresponding unambiguous color images. Activity in one set of regions, including a region in the medial parietal cortex previously reported to play a key role in Mooney image disambiguation, closely reflected memory for previously seen color images but not the subsequent disambiguation of Mooney images. A second set of regions, including the superior temporal sulcus, showed the opposite pattern, in that their responses closely reflected the subjects' percepts of the disambiguated Mooney images on a stimulus-to-stimulus basis but not the memory of the corresponding color images. Functional connectivity between the two sets of regions was stronger during those trials in which the disambiguated percept was stronger. This functional interaction between brain regions that specialize in storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images may represent a general mechanism by which previous knowledge disambiguates visual sensory information.",
author = "Jay Hegde and Daniel Kersten",
year = "2010",
month = "11",
day = "10",
doi = "10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4415-09.2010",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "30",
pages = "15124--15133",
journal = "Journal of Neuroscience",
issn = "0270-6474",
publisher = "Society for Neuroscience",
number = "45",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - A link between visual disambiguation and visual memory

AU - Hegde, Jay

AU - Kersten, Daniel

PY - 2010/11/10

Y1 - 2010/11/10

N2 - Sensory information in the retinal image is typically too ambiguous to support visual object recognition by itself. Theories of visual disambiguation posit that to disambiguate, and thus interpret, the incoming images, the visual system must integrate the sensory information with previous knowledge of the visual world. However, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of human subjects, we have found evidence for functional specialization for storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images. Subjects viewed two-tone, "Mooney" images, which are typically ambiguous when seen for the first time but are quickly disambiguated after viewing the corresponding unambiguous color images. Activity in one set of regions, including a region in the medial parietal cortex previously reported to play a key role in Mooney image disambiguation, closely reflected memory for previously seen color images but not the subsequent disambiguation of Mooney images. A second set of regions, including the superior temporal sulcus, showed the opposite pattern, in that their responses closely reflected the subjects' percepts of the disambiguated Mooney images on a stimulus-to-stimulus basis but not the memory of the corresponding color images. Functional connectivity between the two sets of regions was stronger during those trials in which the disambiguated percept was stronger. This functional interaction between brain regions that specialize in storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images may represent a general mechanism by which previous knowledge disambiguates visual sensory information.

AB - Sensory information in the retinal image is typically too ambiguous to support visual object recognition by itself. Theories of visual disambiguation posit that to disambiguate, and thus interpret, the incoming images, the visual system must integrate the sensory information with previous knowledge of the visual world. However, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of human subjects, we have found evidence for functional specialization for storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images. Subjects viewed two-tone, "Mooney" images, which are typically ambiguous when seen for the first time but are quickly disambiguated after viewing the corresponding unambiguous color images. Activity in one set of regions, including a region in the medial parietal cortex previously reported to play a key role in Mooney image disambiguation, closely reflected memory for previously seen color images but not the subsequent disambiguation of Mooney images. A second set of regions, including the superior temporal sulcus, showed the opposite pattern, in that their responses closely reflected the subjects' percepts of the disambiguated Mooney images on a stimulus-to-stimulus basis but not the memory of the corresponding color images. Functional connectivity between the two sets of regions was stronger during those trials in which the disambiguated percept was stronger. This functional interaction between brain regions that specialize in storing disambiguating information in memory versus interpreting incoming ambiguous images may represent a general mechanism by which previous knowledge disambiguates visual sensory information.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78149488803&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78149488803&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4415-09.2010

DO - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4415-09.2010

M3 - Article

C2 - 21068318

AN - SCOPUS:78149488803

VL - 30

SP - 15124

EP - 15133

JO - Journal of Neuroscience

JF - Journal of Neuroscience

SN - 0270-6474

IS - 45

ER -