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Task and spatial frequency modulations of object processing: an EEG study

Author(s): M. Craddock, J. Martinovic, M. M. Muller

Abstract:
Visual object processing may follow a coarse-to-fine sequence imposed by fast processing of low spatial frequencies (LSF) and slow processing of high spatial frequencies (HSF). Objects can be categorized at varying levels of specificity: the superordinate (e.g. animal), the basic (e.g. dog), or the subordinate (e.g. Border Collie). We tested whether superordinate and more specific categorization depend on different spatial frequency ranges, and whether any such dependencies might be revealed by or influence signals recorded using EEG. We used event-related potentials (ERPs) and time-frequency (TF) analysis to examine the time course of object processing while participants performed either a grammatical gender-classification task (which generally forces basic-level categorization) or a living/non-living judgement (superordinate categorization) on everyday, real-life objects. Objects were filtered to contain only HSF or LSF. We found a greater positivity and greater negativity for HSF than for LSF pictures in the P1 and N1 respectively, but no effects of task on either component. A later, fronto-central negativity (N350) was more negative in the gender-classification task than the superordinate categorization task, which may indicate that this component relates to semantic or syntactic processing. We found no significant effects of task or spatial frequency on evoked or total gamma band responses. Our results demonstrate early differences in processing of HSF and LSF content that were not modulated by categorization task, with later responses reflecting such higher-level cognitive factors.

Full version: Available here

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ISBN: 1932-6203 (Electronic) 1932-6203 (Linking)
Publication Year: 2013
Periodical: PLoS One
Periodical Number: 7
Volume: 8
Pages: e70293
Author Address: Institute of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Germany. matt.craddock@uni-leipzig.de