The complexity of sensory stimuli has an important role in perception and cognition. However, its neural representation is not well understood. In this article published in Scientific Reports, we characterize the representations of naturalistic visual and auditory stimulus complexity in early and associative visual and auditory cortices. To do this, we carried out data encoding and decoding in two fMRI datasets with visual and auditory modalities. We found that most early and some associative sensory areas represent the complexity of naturalistic sensory stimuli. For example, the parahippocampal place area, which was previously shown to represent scene features, was found to also represent scene complexity. Similarly, posterior regions of superior temporal gyrus and superior temporal sulcus, which were previously shown to represent syntactic (language) complexity, were found to also represent music (auditory) complexity. Furthermore, our results suggest that gradients of sensitivity to naturalistic sensory stimulus complexity exist in these areas.
Güçlütürk, Y., Güçlü, U., van Gerven, M., and van Lier, R. (2018). Representations of naturalistic stimulus complexity in early and associative visual and auditory cortices. 8:3439. Full text