October 29, 2020

Representational content of oscillatory brain activity during object recognition

Numerous theories propose a key role for brain oscillations in visual perception. Most of these theories postulate that sensory information is encoded in specific oscillatory components (e.g., power or phase) of specific frequency bands. These theories are often tested with whole-brain recording methods of low spatial resolution (EEG or MEG), or depth recordings that provide a local, incomplete view of the brain. Opportunities to bridge the gap between local neural populations and whole-brain signals are rare. Here, using representational similarity analysis we ask which MEG oscillatory components (power and phase, across various frequency bands) correspond to low or high-level visual object representations, using brain representations from fMRI, or layer-wise representations in Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) as a template for low/high-level object representations. The results showed that around stimulus onset and offset, most transient oscillatory signals correlated with low-level brain patterns (V1). During stimulus presentation, sustained beta (~20Hz) and gamma (>60Hz) power best correlated with V1, while oscillatory phase components correlated with IT representations. Surprisingly, this pattern of results did not always correspond to low- or high-level DNN layer activity. In particular, sustained beta-band oscillatory power reflected high-level DNN layers, suggestive of a feed-back component. These results begin to bridge the gap between whole-brain oscillatory signals and object representations supported by local neuronal activations.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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