Investigating category- and shape-selective neural processing in ventral and dorsal visual stream under interocular suppression

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Abstract

Recent behavioral and neuroimaging studies using continuous flash suppression (CFS) have suggested that action-related processing in the dorsal visual stream might be independent of perceptual awareness, in line with the “vision-for-perception” versus “vision-for-action” distinction of the influential dual-stream theory. It remains controversial if evidence suggesting exclusive dorsal stream processing of tool stimuli under CFS can be explained by their elongated shape alone or by action-relevant category representations in dorsal visual cortex. To approach this question, we investigated category- and shape-selective functional magnetic resonance imaging-blood-oxygen level-dependent responses in both visual streams using images of faces and tools. Multivariate pattern analysis showed enhanced decoding of elongated relative to non-elongated tools, both in the ventral and dorsal visual stream. The second aim of our study was to investigate whether the depth of interocular suppression might differentially affect processing in dorsal and ventral areas. However, parametric modulation of suppression depth by varying the CFS mask contrast did not yield any evidence for differential modulation of category-selective activity. Together, our data provide evidence for shape-selective processing under CFS in both dorsal and ventral stream areas and, therefore, do not support the notion that dorsal “vision-for-action” processing is exclusively preserved under interocular suppression. Hum Brain Mapp,36:137–149, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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