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Imaging Perception

  • Assaf Harel
  • Chris I. BakerEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

We engage the world through our senses. During perception, physical signals (e.g., sound waves) are converted into electrical signals in specialized receptors and conveyed to the brain where they are processed and synthesized. In this chapter, we describe how MRI can provide critical insights into this process at both cortical and subcortical levels. In particular, we highlight similarities and differences in perceptual processing between the different sensory modalities. First, we describe the parallel and hierarchical sensory pathways, with neural representations growing in complexity from simple (e.g., orientation, frequency) to more complex (e.g., faces, speech) features. Second, we look at cortical organization, focusing on topographical maps, which reflect the organization of the receptors on the sensory surfaces, as well as higher-order organization such as category selectivity. We also emphasize that perception is driven by both bottom-up (sensory driven) and top-down (internally generated) signals, integrating our prior knowledge and attention in shaping our current percepts. Finally, we discuss how perception is highly malleable and influenced by experience from development through adulthood and from short (seconds) to long (years) time scales.

Keywords

Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Sensory Surface Perceptual Representation Bold Response Piriform Cortex 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

BA

Brodmann area

BOLD

Blood oxygenation dependent

EPI

Echoplanar imaging

FFA

Fusiform face area

LGN

Lateral geniculate nucleus

MVPA

Multi-voxel pattern analysis

OTC

Occipitotemporal cortex

PPA

Parahippocampal place area

SVM

Support vector machines

V1

Primary visual cortex

V2

Prestriate cortex

V3

Extrastriate visual area V3

V4

Extrastriate visual area V4

V5/MT

Extrastriate visual area V5/MT (middle temporal)

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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Brain and CognitionNational Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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