Neural representations of ensemble coding in the occipital and parietal cortices

Kyeong Jin Tark, Min Suk Kang, Sang Chul Chong, Won Mok Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The human visual system is able to extract summary statistics from sets of similar items, but the underlying neural mechanism remains poorly understood. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an encoding model, we examined how the neural representation of ensemble coding is constructed by manipulating the task-relevance of ensemble features. We found a gradual increase in orientation-selective responses to the mean orientation of multiple stimuli along the visual hierarchy only when these orientations were task-relevant. Such responses to the ensemble orientation were present in the extrastriate area, V3, even when the mean orientation was not task-relevant, indicating that the ensemble representation can co-exist with the task-relevant individual feature representation. Ensemble orientations were also represented in frontal regions, but those representations were robust only when each mean orientation was linked to a motor response dimension. Together, our findings suggest that the neural representation of the ensemble percept is formed by pooling signals at multiple levels of the visual processing stream.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118680
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Boohee Choi for technical support in fMRI data collection. We thank Kang Yong Eo and Yee Joon Kim for sharing experimental codes. This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science Grant [IBS-R015-D1]; and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) [NRF-2019M3E5D2A01060299 and NRF-2019R1A2C1085566].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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