Natural scene representations in the gamma band are prototypical across subjects

Neuroimage. 2020 Jun 4;221:117010. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117010. Online ahead of print.


Prototypical brain responses describe similarity in neural representations between subjects in response to a natural stimulus. During natural movie viewing, for example, inter-subject correlation (ISC) measured by fMRI is high in visual areas (Hasson et al., 2004). But the electrophysiological basis for this fMRI ISC has been controversial. Previous reports have only found ISC in low frequency bands-below 12 ​Hz (Chang et al., 2015). These findings stand in contrast to reports that gamma band oscillations-30 to 90 ​Hz-are highly stimulus-driven in visual cortex (Perry et al., 2015). To resolve this discrepancy, we carried out both ISC estimation and a novel inter-subject representational correlation analysis across six frequency bands extracted from MEG data of 24 subjects who each viewed four 5-min clips of an underwater documentary. Region-of-interest-based and vertex-based temporal ISC estimates confirmed that low-frequency bands are significantly synchronized in visual areas and that gamma band has low temporal correlation. We also found the representational geometry of movie scenes were related to structural statistics from the stimuli. Crucially, our results show that the gamma band oscillations also reflect prototypical brain response in scene representations formed in response to naturalistic stimuli as revealed by inter-subject representational correlation.