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Identifying the Spatial Scales of Neural Representations in Human Visual System using Functional MRI with Wavelet Transforms

Ren, Xueying (2022) Identifying the Spatial Scales of Neural Representations in Human Visual System using Functional MRI with Wavelet Transforms. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Visual information is thought to be processed in a hierarchical fashion from simple features processing in early visual areas to more complex information processing in higher-order visual areas. However, much remains to be learned about how the human visual system represents information, and whether information is represented at fine or coarse spatial scales. Traditional methods, such as spatial smoothing, which have been used to investigate spatial scales, cannot confine individual spatial scales stringently. In this study, we applied a novel method– the wavelet transforms – that could overcome these limitations in quantifying spatial scales. The goals of our study were two-fold: we will examine 1) if information is represented at fine or coarse spatial scales in various sub-regions in human visual system, and 2) if there is any correlation between the spatial-scale dependent information representations and receptive field size across different sub-regions in human visual system. To answer those questions, we applied a dual-tree complex wavelet transform (dt-CWT) to fMRI data volumes, which were collected as eight participants viewed four visual categories. Five orthogonal spatial scales were generated using the wavelets, and a set of new features were defined that took scale and directionality information into account for information representations. Those new features generated by the wavelets were then submitted to a multi-class classification analysis with a XGBoost machine learning algorithm. We adopted a Bayesian approach to evaluate the statistical significance of the classification results. Contradicting with earlier findings, we did not find evidence to support multi-scale dependent neural representations in human visual system. However, our results should be interpreted with caution as we looked at neural representations from a different perspective. Further studies are needed to gain more insights into the multi-scale dependent neural representations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ren, Xueyingxur1@pitt.eduxur1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCoutanche, Marc
Committee MemberLibertus, Melissa
Committee MemberVerstynen,
Date: 6 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 July 2021
Approval Date: 6 June 2022
Submission Date: 17 August 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 35
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: spatial scales, wavelets, visual system, fMRI
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 15:53
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2022 15:53


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