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Feedback from higher to lower visual areas for visual recognition may be weaker in the periphery: Glimpses from the perception of brief dichoptic stimuli

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Zhaoping, L. (2017). Feedback from higher to lower visual areas for visual recognition may be weaker in the periphery: Glimpses from the perception of brief dichoptic stimuli. Vision Research, 136, 32-49. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2017.05.002.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-64F3-B
Abstract
Eye movements bring attended visual inputs to the center of vision for further processing. Thus, central and peripheral vision should have different functional roles. Here, we use observations of visual perception under dichoptic stimuli to infer that there is a difference in the top-down feedback from higher brain centers to primary visual cortex. Visual stimuli to the two eyes were designed such that the sum and difference of the binocular input from the two eyes have the form of two different gratings. These gratings differed in their motion direction, tilt direction, or color, and duly evoked ambiguous percepts for the corresponding feature. Observers were more likely to perceive the feature in the binocular summation rather than the difference channel. However, this perceptual bias towards the binocular summation signal was weaker or absent in peripheral vision, even when central and peripheral vision showed no difference in contrast sensitivity to the binocular summation signal relative to that to the binocular difference signal. We propose that this bias can arise from top-down feedback as part of an analysis-by-synthesis computation. The feedback is of the input predicted using prior information by the upper level perceptual hypothesis about the visual scene; the hypothesis is verified by comparing the feedback with the actual visual input. We illustrate this process using a conceptual circuit model. In this framework, a bias towards binocular summation can arise from the prior knowledge that inputs are usually correlated between the two eyes. Accordingly, a weaker bias in the periphery implies that the top-down feedback is weaker there. Testable experimental predictions are presented and discussed.