Spatiotemporal object continuity in human ventral visual cortex

Do Joon Yi, Nicholas B. Turk-Browne, Jonathan I. Flombaum, Min Shik Kim, Brian J. Scholl, Marvin M. Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Coherent visual experience requires that objects be represented as the same persisting individuals over time and motion. Cognitive science research has identified a powerful principle that guides such processing: Objects must trace continuous paths through space and time. Little is known, however, about how neural representations of objects, typically defined by visual features, are influenced by spatiotemporal continuity. Here, we report the consequences of spatiotemporally continuous vs. discontinuous motion on perceptual representations in human ventral visual cortex. In experiments using both dynamic occlusion and apparent motion, face-selective cortical regions exhibited significantly less activation when faces were repeated in continuous vs. discontinuous trajectories, suggesting that discontinuity caused featurally identical objects to be represented as different individuals. These results indicate that spatiotemporal continuity modulates neural representations of object identity, influencing judgments of object persistence even in the most staunchly "featural" areas of ventral visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8840-8845
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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