Integration of local features into global shapes: monkey and human FMRI studies

Neuron. 2003 Jan 23;37(2):333-46. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)01174-1.


The integration of local image features into global shapes was investigated in monkeys and humans using fMRI. An adaptation paradigm was used, in which stimulus selectivity was deduced by changes in the course of adaptation of a pattern of randomly oriented elements. Accordingly, we observed stronger activity when orientation changes in the adapting stimulus resulted in a collinear contour than a different random pattern. This selectivity to collinear contours was observed not only in higher visual areas that are implicated in shape processing, but also in early visual areas where selectivity depended on the receptive field size. These findings suggest that unified shape perception in both monkeys and humans involves multiple visual areas that may integrate local elements to global shapes at different spatial scales.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retina / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology