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The Temporal Dynamics of Scene Processing: A Multifaceted EEG Investigation

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ABSTRACT

Our remarkable ability to process complex visual scenes is supported by a network of scene-selective cortical regions. Despite growing knowledge about the scene representation in these regions, much less is known about the temporal dynamics with which these representations emerge. We conducted two experiments aimed at identifying and characterizing the earliest markers of scene-specific processing. In the first experiment, human participants viewed images of scenes, faces, and everyday objects while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. We found that the first ERP component to evince a significantly stronger response to scenes than the other categories was the P2, peaking ∼220 ms after stimulus onset. To establish that the P2 component reflects scene-specific processing, in the second experiment, we recorded ERPs while the participants viewed diverse real-world scenes spanning the following three global scene properties: spatial expanse (open/closed), relative distance (near/far), and naturalness (man-made/natural). We found that P2 amplitude was sensitive to these scene properties at both the categorical level, distinguishing between open and closed natural scenes, as well as at the single-image level, reflecting both computationally derived scene statistics and behavioral ratings of naturalness and spatial expanse. Together, these results establish the P2 as an ERP marker for scene processing, and demonstrate that scene-specific global information is available in the neural response as early as 220 ms.

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Stimuli and experimental design of Experiment 2 (scene diagnostic properties). a, Full stimulus set. The stimulus set comprised 96 individual, highly detailed, and diverse real-world scene images from 16 basic-level scene categories (churches, concert halls, hallways, living rooms, forest canopies, canyons, caves, ice caves, cities, harbors, highways, suburbs, beaches, deserts, hills, and mountains), with six exemplars within each category spanning the following three diagnostic scene properties: spatial expanse (open, closed; the spatial boundary of the scene); relative distance (near, far; distance to the nearest foreground objects); and naturalness (or semantic content; man-made, natural). b, Participants viewed the stimuli while performing an orthogonal fixation cross task, in which they were required to report whether the horizontal or vertical bar of the central fixation cross lengthened on each trial. Scene stimuli were presented for 500 ms, with a jittered interstimulus interval ranging from 1000 to 3000 ms.
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Figure 2: Stimuli and experimental design of Experiment 2 (scene diagnostic properties). a, Full stimulus set. The stimulus set comprised 96 individual, highly detailed, and diverse real-world scene images from 16 basic-level scene categories (churches, concert halls, hallways, living rooms, forest canopies, canyons, caves, ice caves, cities, harbors, highways, suburbs, beaches, deserts, hills, and mountains), with six exemplars within each category spanning the following three diagnostic scene properties: spatial expanse (open, closed; the spatial boundary of the scene); relative distance (near, far; distance to the nearest foreground objects); and naturalness (or semantic content; man-made, natural). b, Participants viewed the stimuli while performing an orthogonal fixation cross task, in which they were required to report whether the horizontal or vertical bar of the central fixation cross lengthened on each trial. Scene stimuli were presented for 500 ms, with a jittered interstimulus interval ranging from 1000 to 3000 ms.

Mentions: Stimuli for this experiment were images of scenes that had previously been used in a neuroimaging study (Kravitz et al., 2011). The stimulus set comprised 96 individual, highly detailed, and diverse real-world scene images from 16 basic-level scene categories (churches, concert halls, hallways, living rooms, forest canopies, canyons, caves, ice caves, cities, harbors, highways, suburbs, beaches, deserts, hills, mountains), with six exemplars within each category, spanning the following three diagnostic scene properties: spatial expanse (open, closed; the spatial boundary of the scene); relative distance (near, far; distance to the nearest foreground objects); and naturalness (or semantic content; man-made, natural; Fig. 2a, full stimulus set). The images were presented full screen, subtending 27º of visual angle, at a viewing distance of 75 cm. The stimuli were presented using E-Prime presentation software (Psychology Software Tools).


The Temporal Dynamics of Scene Processing: A Multifaceted EEG Investigation
Stimuli and experimental design of Experiment 2 (scene diagnostic properties). a, Full stimulus set. The stimulus set comprised 96 individual, highly detailed, and diverse real-world scene images from 16 basic-level scene categories (churches, concert halls, hallways, living rooms, forest canopies, canyons, caves, ice caves, cities, harbors, highways, suburbs, beaches, deserts, hills, and mountains), with six exemplars within each category spanning the following three diagnostic scene properties: spatial expanse (open, closed; the spatial boundary of the scene); relative distance (near, far; distance to the nearest foreground objects); and naturalness (or semantic content; man-made, natural). b, Participants viewed the stimuli while performing an orthogonal fixation cross task, in which they were required to report whether the horizontal or vertical bar of the central fixation cross lengthened on each trial. Scene stimuli were presented for 500 ms, with a jittered interstimulus interval ranging from 1000 to 3000 ms.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037322&req=5

Figure 2: Stimuli and experimental design of Experiment 2 (scene diagnostic properties). a, Full stimulus set. The stimulus set comprised 96 individual, highly detailed, and diverse real-world scene images from 16 basic-level scene categories (churches, concert halls, hallways, living rooms, forest canopies, canyons, caves, ice caves, cities, harbors, highways, suburbs, beaches, deserts, hills, and mountains), with six exemplars within each category spanning the following three diagnostic scene properties: spatial expanse (open, closed; the spatial boundary of the scene); relative distance (near, far; distance to the nearest foreground objects); and naturalness (or semantic content; man-made, natural). b, Participants viewed the stimuli while performing an orthogonal fixation cross task, in which they were required to report whether the horizontal or vertical bar of the central fixation cross lengthened on each trial. Scene stimuli were presented for 500 ms, with a jittered interstimulus interval ranging from 1000 to 3000 ms.
Mentions: Stimuli for this experiment were images of scenes that had previously been used in a neuroimaging study (Kravitz et al., 2011). The stimulus set comprised 96 individual, highly detailed, and diverse real-world scene images from 16 basic-level scene categories (churches, concert halls, hallways, living rooms, forest canopies, canyons, caves, ice caves, cities, harbors, highways, suburbs, beaches, deserts, hills, mountains), with six exemplars within each category, spanning the following three diagnostic scene properties: spatial expanse (open, closed; the spatial boundary of the scene); relative distance (near, far; distance to the nearest foreground objects); and naturalness (or semantic content; man-made, natural; Fig. 2a, full stimulus set). The images were presented full screen, subtending 27º of visual angle, at a viewing distance of 75 cm. The stimuli were presented using E-Prime presentation software (Psychology Software Tools).

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Our remarkable ability to process complex visual scenes is supported by a network of scene-selective cortical regions. Despite growing knowledge about the scene representation in these regions, much less is known about the temporal dynamics with which these representations emerge. We conducted two experiments aimed at identifying and characterizing the earliest markers of scene-specific processing. In the first experiment, human participants viewed images of scenes, faces, and everyday objects while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. We found that the first ERP component to evince a significantly stronger response to scenes than the other categories was the P2, peaking ∼220 ms after stimulus onset. To establish that the P2 component reflects scene-specific processing, in the second experiment, we recorded ERPs while the participants viewed diverse real-world scenes spanning the following three global scene properties: spatial expanse (open/closed), relative distance (near/far), and naturalness (man-made/natural). We found that P2 amplitude was sensitive to these scene properties at both the categorical level, distinguishing between open and closed natural scenes, as well as at the single-image level, reflecting both computationally derived scene statistics and behavioral ratings of naturalness and spatial expanse. Together, these results establish the P2 as an ERP marker for scene processing, and demonstrate that scene-specific global information is available in the neural response as early as 220 ms.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus