Task relevance modulates the cortical representation of feature conjunctions in the target template

Reshanne R Reeder, Michael Hanke, Stefan Pollmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Little is known about the cortical regions involved in representing task-related content in preparation for visual task performance. Here we used representational similarity analysis (RSA) to investigate the BOLD response pattern similarity between task relevant and task irrelevant feature dimensions during conjunction viewing and target template maintenance prior to visual search. Subjects were cued to search for a spatial frequency (SF) or orientation of a Gabor grating and we measured BOLD signal during cue and delay periods before the onset of a search display. RSA of delay period activity revealed that widespread regions in frontal, posterior parietal, and occipitotemporal cortices showed general representational differences between task relevant and task irrelevant dimensions (e.g., orientation vs. SF). In contrast, RSA of cue period activity revealed sensory-related representational differences between cue images (regardless of task) at the occipital pole and additionally in the frontal pole. Our data show that task and sensory information are represented differently during viewing and during target template maintenance, and that task relevance modulates the representation of visual information across the cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4514
Pages (from-to)4514
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Adult
  • Behavior
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex/physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods


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