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Differential modulation of foreground and background in early visual cortex by feedback during bistable Gestalt perception

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Grassi,  PR
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Zaretskaya,  N
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bartels,  A
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Grassi, P., Zaretskaya, N., & Bartels, A. (2016). Differential modulation of foreground and background in early visual cortex by feedback during bistable Gestalt perception. Poster presented at 39th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 2016), Barcelona, Spain.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-7B38-8
Abstract
A growing body of literature suggests that feedback modulation of early processing is ubiquitous and central to cortical computation. In particular stimuli with high-level content have been shown to suppress early visual regions, typically interpreted in the framework of predictive coding. However, physical stimulus differences can preclude clear interpretations in terms of feedback. Here we examined activity modulation in V1-V2 during distinct perceptual states associated to the same physical input. This ensures that observed modulations cannot be accounted for by changes in physical stimulus properties, and can therefore only be due to percept-related feedback from higher-level regions. We used a bistable dynamic stimulus that could either be perceived as a large illusory square or as locally moving dots. We found that perceptual binding of local elements into an illusory Gestalt led to spatially segregated modulations: retinotopic representations of illusory contours and foreground were enhanced, while inducers and background suppressed. The results extend prior findings to the illusory-perceptual state of physically unchanged stimuli, and show also percept-driven background suppression in the human brain. Based on our prior work, we hypothesize that parietal cortex is responsible for the modulations through recurrent connections in a predictive coding account of visual processing.