Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
How do visual luminance, shape, motion, and depth bind together in the brain to represent the coherent percept of a 3-D object within hundreds of milliseconds (msec)? We provide evidence from simultaneous magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) data that perception of 3-D objects defined by luminance or motion elicits sequential activity in human visual cortices within 500 msec. Following activation of the primary visual cortex around 100 msec, 3-D objects elicited sequential activity with only little overlap (dynamic 3-D shapes: MT-LO-Temp; stationary 3-D shapes: LO-Temp). A delay of 80 msec, both in MEG/EEG responses and in reaction times (RTs), was found when additional motion information was processed. We also found significant positive correlations between RT, and MEG and EEG responses in the right temporal location. After about 400 msec, long-lasting activity was observed in the parietal cortex and concurrently in previously activated regions. Novel time-frequency analyses indicate that the activity in the lateral occipital (LO) complex is associated with an increase of induced power in the gamma band, a hallmark of binding. The close correspondence of an induced gamma response with concurrent sources located in the LO in both experimental conditions at different points in time (∼200 msec for luminance and ∼300 msec for dynamic cues) strongly suggests that the LO is the key region for the assembly of object features. The assembly is fed forward to achieve coherent perception of a 3-D object within 500 msec.