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The Effects of Interdistracter Similarity on Search Processes in Superior Parietal Cortex

By David T. Wilkinson, Peter Halligan, Richard N. A. Henson and Raymond J. Dolan


The superior parietal lobe has been associated with the spatial integration of visual features, an important step in the detection of particular form conjunctions. However, behavioral research has indicated that when target items can be segmented from neighboring distracters via similarity grouping, detection may not rely on spatial integration. The question therefore arises as to whether the superior parietal cortex is an integral component of conjunction search or only important in the absence of certain grouping relations. Here, we acquired measures of reaction time and event-related fMRI, while subjects searched for conjunction targets in displays containing either homogeneous or heterogeneous distracters. We confirm that under conditions of low distracter similarity, search involves parietal-motor areas associated with spatial selection. However, we also demonstrate that under conditions of high distracter similarity, search is instead associated with activation of right temporal-parietal cortex. These results suggest that the superior parietal cortex is not a necessary component of visual conjunction search and highlight a new role for the right temporal-parietal cortex in perceptual grouping

Topics: BF, RC0321
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1006/nimg.2001.0993
OAI identifier: oai:
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