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WyatteJilkOReilly14 Wyatte, D., Jilk, D.J., & O'Reilly, R.C. (2014). Early recurrent feedback facilitates visual object recognition under challenging conditions. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 674. WyatteJilkOReilly14.pdf (Web)
Standard models of the visual object recognition pathway hold that a largely feedforward process from the retina through inferotemporal cortex leads to object identification. A subsequent feedback process originating in frontoparietal areas through reciprocal connections to striate cortex provides attentional support to salient or behaviorally-relevant features. Here, we review mounting evidence that feedback signals also originate within extrastriate regions and begin during the initial feedforward process. This feedback process is temporally dissociable from attention and provides important functions such as grouping, associational reinforcement, and filling-in of features. Local feedback signals operating concurrently with feedforward processing are important for object identification in noisy real-world situations, particularly when objects are partially occluded, unclear, or otherwise ambiguous. Altogether, the dissociation of early and late feedback processes presented here expands on current models of object identification, and suggests a dual role for descending feedback projections.