PLoS ONE. 2008; 3(10): e3492
BACKGROUND: A key aspect of representations for object recognition and scene analysis in the ventral visual stream is the spatial frame of reference, be it a viewer-centered, object-centered, or scene-based coordinate system. Coordinate transforms from retinocentric space to other reference frames involve combining neural visual responses with extraretinal postural information.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We examined whether such spatial information is available to anterior inferotemporal (AIT) neurons in the macaque monkey by measuring the effect of eye position on responses to a set of simple 2D shapes. We report, for the first time, a significant eye position effect in over 40% of recorded neurons with small gaze angle shifts from central fixation. Although eye position modulates responses, it does not change shape selectivity.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These data demonstrate that spatial information is available in AIT for the representation of objects and scenes within a non-retinocentric frame of reference. More generally, the availability of spatial information in AIT calls into questions the classic dichotomy in visual processing that associates object shape processing with ventral structures such as AIT but places spatial processing in a separate anatomical stream projecting to dorsal structures.
Animals, Brain Mapping, Eye Movements, Macaca mulatta, Male, Models, Biological, Ocular Physiological Phenomena, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Retina, Temporal Lobe