Decoding Modality-Invariant Spatial Targets from Planning-Related Activity in Early Visual Areas’

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Conference Proceeding

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Acta Physiologica





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Daily interactions with objects require knowledge of their spatial location in the environment. Spatial information may be obtained through different sensory modalities, such as hearing and vision. Nevertheless, spatially-oriented behavior is performed successfully regardless of the sensory modality signaling the target position. Does the brain represent spatial targets invariantly from their sensory quality during action planning? And, if so, which brain areas provide spatial maps invariant of sensory modality? fMRI investigations showed that, during action planning, it is possible to decode upcoming movements not only from motor networks, but also from V1. V1 might serve as an “active blackboard” where task-relevant information, such as target position, is maintained. We tested this possibility with fMRI. Human subjects performed a motor task, reaching one of two spatial targets following either a visual or auditory cue. The targets were positioned on the left and right side of a central LED. While in the MR, subjects were in complete darkness and fixated the central LED. We adopted a 2x2 factorial design with factors: cue modality (visual vs auditory) and target position (left vs right). We performed multivariate analysis on the planning phase within V1 and tested if this region contained information about upcoming actions towards specific spatial targets: a) following visual cue, b) auditory cue, or c) irrespective of cue modality (cross-decoding). Overall, we showed that: 1) planning-related activity in V1 represented actions towards targets signaled by specific cue modality; 2) cross-decoding confirmed that V1 represented the same information in both tasks. Our study adds to the increasing evidence reporting the involvement of V1 in spatial working memory.


Joint Meeting of the Federation of European Physiological Societies (FEPS) and the Italian Physiological Society (SIF) Bologna (Italy), September 10th – 13th 2019

PP.28 Decoding Modality-invariant Spatial Targets from Planning-related Activity in Early Visual AreasTurella L1, Malfatti G1, Monaco S1, Culham J2,3, Cattaneo L

(2019), Abstracts. Acta Physiol, 227: e13366. https://doi-org.proxy1.lib.uwo.ca/10.1111/apha.13366

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