The effects of changes in object location on object identity detection: A simultaneous EEG-fMRI study

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Object identity and location are bound together to form a unique integration that is maintained and processed in visual working memory (VWM). Changes in task-irrelevant object location have been shown to impair the retrieval of memorial representations and the detection of object identity changes. However, the neural correlates of this cognitive process remain largely unknown. In the present study, we aim to investigate the underlying brain activation during object color change detection and the modulatory effects of changes in object location and VWM load. To this end we used simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) recordings, which can reveal the neural activity with both high temporal and high spatial resolution. Subjects responded faster and with greater accuracy in the repeated compared to the changed object location condition, when a higher VWM load was utilized. These results support the spatial congruency advantage theory and suggest that it is more pronounced with higher VWM load. Furthermore, the spatial congruency effect was associated with larger posterior N1 activity, greater activation of the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and less suppression of the right supramarginal gyrus (SMG), when object location was repeated compared to when it was changed. The ERP-fMRI integrative analysis demonstrated that the object location discrimination-related N1 component is generated in the right SMG.

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