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Activation in a frontoparietal cortical network underlies individual differences in the performance of an embedded figures task.

Walter E, Dassonville P - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: In the present study, we found that similar parietal regions (superior parietal cortex and precuneus) were more active during the EFT than during a simple matching task.Additional parietal and frontal areas, in the right hemisphere, showed strong correlations between brain activity and behavioral performance during the search task.We propose that the posterior parietal regions are necessary for processing contextual information across many different, but related visuospatial tasks, with additional parietal and frontal regions serving to coordinate this processing in participants proficient in the task.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
The Embedded Figures Test (EFT) requires observers to search for a simple geometric shape hidden inside a more complex figure. Surprisingly, performance in the EFT is negatively correlated with susceptibility to illusions of spatial orientation, such as the Roelofs effect. Using fMRI, we previously demonstrated that regions in parietal cortex are involved in the contextual processing associated with the Roelofs task. In the present study, we found that similar parietal regions (superior parietal cortex and precuneus) were more active during the EFT than during a simple matching task. Importantly, these parietal activations overlapped with regions found to be involved during contextual processing in the Roelofs illusion. Additional parietal and frontal areas, in the right hemisphere, showed strong correlations between brain activity and behavioral performance during the search task. We propose that the posterior parietal regions are necessary for processing contextual information across many different, but related visuospatial tasks, with additional parietal and frontal regions serving to coordinate this processing in participants proficient in the task.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

The Embedded Figures Task (and related variant) measures a participant's ability to locate a simple shape within a complex figure.(a) An example of the original Hidden Figures Task. Participants are asked to determine which of the five simple shapes is hidden in the complex shape below (from Ekstrom et al., 1976). Stimuli of the present study (b,c) comprised two potential tasks. When the top shape was red (b), the participant determined whether the simple shape matched the (red) pop-out stimulus in the lower figure (matching task). When the top shape was white (c), the participant judged whether the simple shape was hidden inside the complex image below (search task). In the stimulus shown, the simple shape was included in the complex image (the lower left slanted line of the complex image forms the lower left slanted line of the simple shape).
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pone-0020742-g001: The Embedded Figures Task (and related variant) measures a participant's ability to locate a simple shape within a complex figure.(a) An example of the original Hidden Figures Task. Participants are asked to determine which of the five simple shapes is hidden in the complex shape below (from Ekstrom et al., 1976). Stimuli of the present study (b,c) comprised two potential tasks. When the top shape was red (b), the participant determined whether the simple shape matched the (red) pop-out stimulus in the lower figure (matching task). When the top shape was white (c), the participant judged whether the simple shape was hidden inside the complex image below (search task). In the stimulus shown, the simple shape was included in the complex image (the lower left slanted line of the complex image forms the lower left slanted line of the simple shape).

Mentions: In an increasingly chaotic visual environment, we are often challenged to find a particular object hidden among distracting items. In a typical day, we might search for a bike in a packed bike rack, look for a particular paper or book on a cluttered desk, or try to find an important news item on a disorderly webpage. In order to successfully complete these tasks, we must suppress the extraneous, surrounding items in order to focus on the target object. Researchers have studied this ability with a laboratory exercise known as the Embedded Figures Test (EFT, [1]) or with variants such as the Hidden Figures task (HFT, Figure 1a; [2]). In each of these tasks, participants must determine whether a simple geometric shape is embedded inside a more complex figure composed of many intersecting lines. (Because of the overarching similarity between the Embedded and Hidden Figures Tasks, we will not distinguish them further; the term EFT will be used to refer to both, unless otherwise specified).


Activation in a frontoparietal cortical network underlies individual differences in the performance of an embedded figures task.

Walter E, Dassonville P - PLoS ONE (2011)

The Embedded Figures Task (and related variant) measures a participant's ability to locate a simple shape within a complex figure.(a) An example of the original Hidden Figures Task. Participants are asked to determine which of the five simple shapes is hidden in the complex shape below (from Ekstrom et al., 1976). Stimuli of the present study (b,c) comprised two potential tasks. When the top shape was red (b), the participant determined whether the simple shape matched the (red) pop-out stimulus in the lower figure (matching task). When the top shape was white (c), the participant judged whether the simple shape was hidden inside the complex image below (search task). In the stimulus shown, the simple shape was included in the complex image (the lower left slanted line of the complex image forms the lower left slanted line of the simple shape).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3140479&req=5

pone-0020742-g001: The Embedded Figures Task (and related variant) measures a participant's ability to locate a simple shape within a complex figure.(a) An example of the original Hidden Figures Task. Participants are asked to determine which of the five simple shapes is hidden in the complex shape below (from Ekstrom et al., 1976). Stimuli of the present study (b,c) comprised two potential tasks. When the top shape was red (b), the participant determined whether the simple shape matched the (red) pop-out stimulus in the lower figure (matching task). When the top shape was white (c), the participant judged whether the simple shape was hidden inside the complex image below (search task). In the stimulus shown, the simple shape was included in the complex image (the lower left slanted line of the complex image forms the lower left slanted line of the simple shape).
Mentions: In an increasingly chaotic visual environment, we are often challenged to find a particular object hidden among distracting items. In a typical day, we might search for a bike in a packed bike rack, look for a particular paper or book on a cluttered desk, or try to find an important news item on a disorderly webpage. In order to successfully complete these tasks, we must suppress the extraneous, surrounding items in order to focus on the target object. Researchers have studied this ability with a laboratory exercise known as the Embedded Figures Test (EFT, [1]) or with variants such as the Hidden Figures task (HFT, Figure 1a; [2]). In each of these tasks, participants must determine whether a simple geometric shape is embedded inside a more complex figure composed of many intersecting lines. (Because of the overarching similarity between the Embedded and Hidden Figures Tasks, we will not distinguish them further; the term EFT will be used to refer to both, unless otherwise specified).

Bottom Line: In the present study, we found that similar parietal regions (superior parietal cortex and precuneus) were more active during the EFT than during a simple matching task.Additional parietal and frontal areas, in the right hemisphere, showed strong correlations between brain activity and behavioral performance during the search task.We propose that the posterior parietal regions are necessary for processing contextual information across many different, but related visuospatial tasks, with additional parietal and frontal regions serving to coordinate this processing in participants proficient in the task.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
The Embedded Figures Test (EFT) requires observers to search for a simple geometric shape hidden inside a more complex figure. Surprisingly, performance in the EFT is negatively correlated with susceptibility to illusions of spatial orientation, such as the Roelofs effect. Using fMRI, we previously demonstrated that regions in parietal cortex are involved in the contextual processing associated with the Roelofs task. In the present study, we found that similar parietal regions (superior parietal cortex and precuneus) were more active during the EFT than during a simple matching task. Importantly, these parietal activations overlapped with regions found to be involved during contextual processing in the Roelofs illusion. Additional parietal and frontal areas, in the right hemisphere, showed strong correlations between brain activity and behavioral performance during the search task. We propose that the posterior parietal regions are necessary for processing contextual information across many different, but related visuospatial tasks, with additional parietal and frontal regions serving to coordinate this processing in participants proficient in the task.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus