Global Object Processing

The role of various visual cortical areas in the processing of the global features of objects was studied using fMRI by presenting images of natural objects or highly scrambled versions of the same images. The visual areas of interest were first determined through the traditional mapping of the representations of the horizontal and vertical meridians that delineate the borders between areas. Then a series of full field, blank field, half field (upper or lower), or scrambled images were presented to subjects. Whereas this study concentrated on the sensitivity of the lateral occipital area (LO) to the scrambling of images, important information was acquired about areas V1, V2, and V3. As a group, these areas were well-activated by the natural object images and did not show a reduction in activity with image scrambling. Thus, these lower tier visual areas appear to be responsive to the local orientation and contrast within a stimulus array rather than selective to the global properties of the natural image.

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