A new ERP repetition paradigm to assess independence of regularity representations in the extrastriate cortex.
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Description: Abstract An ERP component called the Sustained Posterior Negativity (SPN) indexes the brain response to regularity in visual patterns (e.g. vertical reflectional symmetry, horizontal reflectional symmetry or rotational symmetry). However it is unclear if different regularities are coded by independent or overlapping neural populations. Previous work has successfully exploited repetition effects to assess representational independence, and we adapted this approach to investigate visual regularity. Experiment 1 (N = 48) found that SPN amplitude increased when three reflectional symmetry patterns were presented sequentially. This SPN priming effect did not survive changes in retinal location (Experiment 2, N = 48) or non-orthogonal changes in axis orientation (Experiment 3, N= 48). However, SPN priming transferred between vertical and horizontal axis orientation (Experiment 4, N= 48) and between reflectional and rotational symmetry (Experiment 5, N= 48). We conclude that visual regularities at different retinal locations are coded independently. However, there is some overlap between different regularities presented at the same retinal location.