Attention modulates neuronal correlates of interhemispheric integration and global motion perception
Journal of Vision
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Inc.
1 - 13
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In early retinotopic areas of the human visual system, information from the left and right visual hemifields (VHFs) is processed contralaterally in two hemispheres. Despite this segregation, we have the perceptual experience of a unified, coherent, and uninterrupted single visual field. How exactly the visual system integrates information from the two VHFs and achieves this perceptual experience still remains largely unknown. In this study using fMRI, we explored candidate areas that are involved in interhemispheric integration and the perceptual experience of a unified, global motion across VHFs. Stimuli were two-dimensional, computergenerated objects with parts in both VHFs. The retinal image in the left VHF always remained stationary, but in the experimental condition, it appeared to have local motion because of the perceived global motion of the object. This perceptual effect could be weakened by directing the attention away from the global motion through a demanding fixation task. Results show that lateral occipital areas, including the medial temporal complex, play an important role in the process of perceptual experience of a unified global motion across VHFs. In early areas, including the lateral geniculate nucleus and V1, we observed correlates of this perceptual experience only when attention is not directed away from the object. These findings reveal effects of attention on interhemispheric integration in motion perception and imply that both the bilateral activity of higher-tier visual areas and feedback mechanisms leading to bilateral activity of early areas play roles in the perceptual experience of a unified visual field.