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Title: The anatomical substrates of feature integration during object processing
Author: Hocking, Julia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 1518
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Objects can be identified from a number of perceptual attributes, including visual, auditory and tactile sensory input. The integration of these perceptual attributes constitutes our semantic knowledge of an object representation. This research uses functional neuroimaging to investigate the brain areas that integrate perceptual features into an object representation, and how these regions are modulated by stimulus- and task-specific features. A series of experiments are reported that utilise different types of perceptual integration, both within and across sensory modalities. These include 1) the integration of visual form with colour, 2) the integration of visual and auditory object features, and 3) the integration of visual and tactile abstract shapes. Across these experiments I have also manipulated additional factors, including the meaning of the perceptual information (meaningful objects versus meaningless shapes), the verbal or non-verbal nature of the perceptual inputs (e.g. spoken words versus environmental sounds) and the congruency of crossmodal inputs. These experiments have identified a network of brain regions both common to, and selective for, different types of object feature integration. For instance, I have identified a common bilateral network involved in the integration and association of crossmodal audiovisual objects and intra-modal auditory or visual object pairs. However, I have also determined that activation in response to the same concepts can be modulated by the type of stimulus input (verbal versus nonverbal), the timing of those inputs (simultaneous versus sequential presentation), and the congruency of stimulus pairs (congruent versus incongruent). Taken together, the results from these experiments demonstrate modulations of neuronal activation by different object attributes at multiple different levels of the object processing hierarchy, from early sensory processing through to stored object representations. Critically, these differential effects have even been observed with the same conceptual stimuli. Together these findings highlight the need for a model of object feature processing that can account for the functional demands that elicit these anatomical differences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available