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Convergent and invariant object representations for sight, sound, and touch


Man, Kingson; Damasio, Antonio; Meyer, Kaspar; Kaplan, Jonas T (2015). Convergent and invariant object representations for sight, sound, and touch. Human Brain Mapping, 36(9):3629-3640.

Abstract

We continuously perceive objects in the world through multiple sensory channels. In this study, we investigated the convergence of information from different sensory streams within the cerebral cortex. We presented volunteers with three common objects via three different modalities-sight, sound, and touch-and used multivariate pattern analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data to map the cortical regions containing information about the identity of the objects. We could reliably predict which of the three stimuli a subject had seen, heard, or touched from the pattern of neural activity in the corresponding early sensory cortices. Intramodal classification was also successful in large portions of the cerebral cortex beyond the primary areas, with multiple regions showing convergence of information from two or all three modalities. Using crossmodal classification, we also searched for brain regions that would represent objects in a similar fashion across different modalities of presentation. We trained a classifier to distinguish objects presented in one modality and then tested it on the same objects presented in a different modality. We detected audiovisual invariance in the right temporo-occipital junction, audiotactile invariance in the left postcentral gyrus and parietal operculum, and visuotactile invariance in the right postcentral and supramarginal gyri. Our maps of multisensory convergence and crossmodal generalization reveal the underlying organization of the association cortices, and may be related to the neural basis for mental concepts.

Abstract

We continuously perceive objects in the world through multiple sensory channels. In this study, we investigated the convergence of information from different sensory streams within the cerebral cortex. We presented volunteers with three common objects via three different modalities-sight, sound, and touch-and used multivariate pattern analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data to map the cortical regions containing information about the identity of the objects. We could reliably predict which of the three stimuli a subject had seen, heard, or touched from the pattern of neural activity in the corresponding early sensory cortices. Intramodal classification was also successful in large portions of the cerebral cortex beyond the primary areas, with multiple regions showing convergence of information from two or all three modalities. Using crossmodal classification, we also searched for brain regions that would represent objects in a similar fashion across different modalities of presentation. We trained a classifier to distinguish objects presented in one modality and then tested it on the same objects presented in a different modality. We detected audiovisual invariance in the right temporo-occipital junction, audiotactile invariance in the left postcentral gyrus and parietal operculum, and visuotactile invariance in the right postcentral and supramarginal gyri. Our maps of multisensory convergence and crossmodal generalization reveal the underlying organization of the association cortices, and may be related to the neural basis for mental concepts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Anesthesiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:September 2015
Deposited On:08 Oct 2015 07:55
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:26
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1065-9471
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.22867
PubMed ID:26047030

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