Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Here we examined the level of the lateral occipital (LO) area within the processing stream of the ventral visual cortex. An important determinant of an area's level of processing is whether it codes visual elements on both sides of the visual field, as do higher visual areas, or prefers those in the contralateral visual field, as do early visual areas. The former would suggest that LO, on one side, combines bilateral visual elements into a whole, while the latter suggests that it codes only the parts of forms. We showed that LO has a relative preference for visual objects in the contralateral visual field. LO responses were influenced by attention. However, relative changes in LO activity caused by changes in object location were preserved even when attention was shifted away from the objects to moving random dot patterns on the opposite side. Our data offer a new view on LO as an intermediate, but not a high-level, visual area in which neurons are driven by visual input and spatial attention in a multiplicative fashion.