Perceived Size Modulates Cortical Processing of Objects
Empirical object recognition research indicates that objects are represented and perceived as hierarchical part-whole arrangements that vary according to bottom-up and top-down biases. An ongoing debate within object recognition research concerns whether local or global image properties are more fundamental for the perception of objects. Similarly, there is also disagreement about whether the visual system is guided by holistic or analytical processes. Neuroimaging findings have revealed functional distinctions between low and higher-level visual processes across lateral occipital-temporal cortex (LOC), primary visual cortices (V1/V2) and ventral occipital-temporal cortex. Recent studies suggest activations in these object recognition areas and others, such as the fusiform face area (FFA) and extra-striate body area (EBA), are collinear with activations associated with the perception scenes and buildings. Together, this information warrants the focus of the proposed study: to investigate the neural correlates of object recognition and perceived size. During the experiment subjects tracked a fixation stimulus while simultaneously being presented with images of shape contours and faces. Contours and face stimuli subtended small, medium and large visual angles in order to evaluate variance in neural activation across perceived size. In the present study visual areas were hypothesized to modulate as a function of visual angle, meaning that the part-whole relationships of objects vary with their perceived size.