Scene perception, memory and the functional organisation of human medial parietal cortex.

This seminar will be delivered by Dr Ed Silson from the University of Edinburgh.

Human medial parietal cortex (MPC) is implicated in multiple cognitive processes including memory recall, visual scene processing and navigation, and is considered a core component of the default mode network. Recently, a posterior-anterior distinction within MPC was proposed, such that posterior portions process scene-related visual information, whereas anterior aspects process information retrieved from memory, thereby supporting memory and potentially navigation. Here, we tested this proposed distinction. First, we systematically compared responses in MPC during visual scene perception and scene memory using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Consistent with the proposed segregation of function, we found a double dissociation within MPC, whereby posterior portions exhibited significantly stronger responses during scene perception over memory, with the opposite pattern evident more anteriorly. Second, in a separate study we explored further the functional organisation of MPC utilizing fMRI data from three independent experiments. First, distinct regions of MPC exhibited differential functional connectivity with medial and lateral portions of ventral temporal cortex. Second, these same medial regions showed selective, but negative, responses to the visual presentation of different categories, with clear preferences for scenes and faces. Finally, these regions were differentially recruited during memory recall of either specific people or specific places. Taken together, these data provide a framework for understanding the functional organisation of MPC that appears to reflect the organisation of ventral temporal cortex, but in the context of memory.

This seminar will be held in Room 1.33-1.34 in the School of Psychology.