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Switching between the forest and the trees: Brain systems involved in local/global changed-level judgments

Wilkinson, D. T., Halligan, Peter, Marshall, J. C., Buchel, C. and Dolan, R. J. 2001. Switching between the forest and the trees: Brain systems involved in local/global changed-level judgments. NeuroImage 13 (1) , pp. 56-67. 10.1006/nimg.2000.0678

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Visual targets can be coded, in relative terms, at either the local or the global level of stimuli. Previous studies have indicated that targets are identified more slowly when they appear at a new hierarchical level, compared to when they reappear at the same level as in the previous trial. In the present study, we used measures of reaction time and event-related fMRI to investigate factors affecting this switch cost. In particular, we examined the effects of the number of repeated-level trials preceding a switch and whether the cue to switch was either externally or internally mediated. At the behavioral level we found that (1) the time taken to identify a target on a changed-level trial is longer following four repeated-level trials compared to two repeated-level trials, but that runs of six do not produce additional costs over four, and (2) targets can be identified faster following externally cued switches compared to internally mediated switches. We then show that these behavioral effects are associated with distinct patterns of neural activation. Switches performed after two repeated-level trials preferentially activated the precuneus, while those performed after both four and six activated bilateral inferior parietal cortex and motor hand area. Relative to external switches, internal switches activated the putamen, while both kinds of switch conjointly activated the large-scale network proposed to underlie internal/external switches in nonhierarchical tasks. Our data further clarify the mechanisms mediating hierarchical selection.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1053-8119
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:14

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