To build a representation of what we see, the human brain recruits
regions throughout the visual cortex in cascading sequence.
Recently, an approach was proposed to evaluate the dynamics of visual
perception in high spatiotemporal resolution at the scale of the whole brain.
This method combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data with
magnetoencephalography (MEG) data using representational similarity analysis
and revealed a hierarchical progression from primary visual cortex through the
dorsal and ventral streams. To assess the replicability of this method, we here
present the results of a visual recognition neuro-imaging fusion experiment
and compare them within and across experimental settings. We evaluated the
reliability of this method by assessing the consistency of the results under
similar test conditions, showing high agreement within participants. We then
generalized these results to a separate group of individuals and visual input
by comparing them to the fMRI-MEG fusion data of Cichy et al (2016), revealing
a highly similar temporal progression recruiting both the dorsal and ventral
streams. Together these results are a testament to the reproducibility of the
fMRI-MEG fusion approach and allows for the interpretation of these spatiotemporal dynamic in a broader context.
*Links to download fMRI, MEG, and stimuli set used in this paper and the Algonauts Project 2019 are below*
MEG-fMRI Fusion Shows the Progression of Visual Perception in the Dorsal and Ventral Streams
We recorded MEG and fMRI data while 15 participants viewed a set of 156 natural images. These
images can be subdivided into five categories (faces, bodies, animals, objects, scenes) or two twinsets of 78 images each. Images in twinsets 1 and 2
are each composed of unique images that share the same exemplar (e.g. both twinsets each have a unique image of a giraffe).
MEG-fMRI fusion on all 156 images showing the cascading processing of visual recognition along the ventral and dorsal streams.
MEG-fMRI Fusion Results Are Replicated When the Same Subjects View Two Sets of Semantically Similar Images, Demonstrating Reliability
All stimuli in the two twinsets are distinct images, but the they come in semantically similar pairs. For example, both twinsets contain
different images of a sandwich.
We applied the fusion technique on twinset 1 and twinset 2 images to demonstrate the reliability of the fusion method in
capturing the spatio-temporal dynamics of information flow in the ventral and dorsal streams.
MEG-fMRI Fusion Results Are Highly Similar Across Subject Groups Viewing Different Images, Demonstrating Generalizability
The above 156 image fusion results were compared with fusion results from an independent study led by Cichy et al (2016).
In Cichy et al's experiment, 15 different subjects viewed a total of 118 natural images of objects. Visit Cichy et al's
Project Page to download
the 118 image stimuli set, MEG data, fMRI data, or learn more about the experiment.
156 Image (current study) Stimuli Set
118 Image (Cichy et al) Stimuli Set
Upon analyzing multiple regions of interests in the ventral and dorsal streams, no significant differences
were found between these two fusion movies. This shows that MEG-fMRI fusion can generalize to different subjects
and stimuli sets.
This research was funded by NSF grant number 1532591, in Neural and Cognitive Systems as well as
the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship program funded by the ONR grant number N00014-16-1-3116 (to A.O.)
and the DFG Emmy Noether Grant CI 241/1-1 (to R.C.). The experiments were conducted at the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the
McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The authors would like to thank
Dimitrios Pantazis for helpful discussions.