Neural correlates of exemplar novelty processing under different spatial attention conditions

Authors

  • Christian Michael Stoppel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology and Centre for Advanced Imaging, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
    • Department of Neurology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Carsten Nicolas Boehler,

    1. Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Hendrik Strumpf,

    1. Department of Neurology and Centre for Advanced Imaging, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Hans-Jochen Heinze,

    1. Department of Neurology and Centre for Advanced Imaging, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
    2. Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Jens Max Hopf,

    1. Department of Neurology and Centre for Advanced Imaging, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
    2. Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Emrah Düzel,

    1. Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Department of Psychology, University College, London, United Kingdom
    2. Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
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  • Mircea Ariel Schoenfeld

    1. Department of Neurology and Centre for Advanced Imaging, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany
    2. Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany
    3. Kliniken Schmieder, Allensbach, Germany
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Abstract

The detection of novel events and their identification is a basic prerequisite in a rapidly changing environment. Recently, the processing of novelty has been shown to rely on the hippocampus and to be associated with activity in reward-related areas. The present study investigated the influence of spatial attention on neural processing of novel relative to frequently presented standard and target stimuli. Never-before-seen Mandelbrot-fractals absent of semantic content were employed as stimulus material. Consistent with current theories, novelty activated a widespread network of brain areas including the hippocampus. No activity, however, could be observed in reward-related areas with the novel stimuli absent of a semantic meaning employed here. In the perceptual part of the novelty-processing network a region in the lingual gyrus was found to specifically process novel events when they occurred outside the focus of spatial attention. These findings indicate that the initial detection of unexpected novel events generally occurs in specialized perceptual areas within the ventral visual stream, whereas activation of reward-related areas appears to be restricted to events that do possess a semantic content indicative of the biological relevance of the stimulus. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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