Topography of Visual Features in the Human Ventral Visual Pathway

 Shijia Fan1,2 • Xiaosha Wang1,2 • Xiaoying Wang1,2 • Tao Wei1,2 • Yanchao Bi1,2,3
1 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, and IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China 
2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Brain Imaging and Connectomics, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China 
3 Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing 102206, China
Visual object recognition in humans and nonhuman primates is achieved by the ventral visual pathway (ventral occipital-temporal cortex, VOTC), which shows a well-documented object domain structure. An on-going question is what type of information is processed in the higher-order VOTC that underlies such observations, with recent evidence suggesting effects of certain visual features. Combining computational vision models, fMRI experiment using a parametric-modulation approach, and natural image statistics of common objects, we depicted the neural distribution of a comprehensive set of visual features in the VOTC, identifying voxel sensitivities with specific feature sets across geometry/shape, Fourier power, and color. The visual feature combination pattern in the VOTC is significantly explained by their relationships to different types of response-action computation (fight-or-flight, navigation, and manipulation), as derived from behavioral ratings and natural image statistics. These results offer a comprehensive visual feature map in the VOTC and a plausible theoretical explanation as a mapping onto different types of downstream response-action systems.
Ventral occipital temporal cortex;  Computational vision model;  Domain organization;  Response mapping