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Mécanismes neurocognitifs de la perception visuelle de scènes chez le jeune adulte et leur évolution au cours du vieillissement normal et pathologique

Abstract : As suggested by evidence from visual neurophysiology, scene perception could begin by the extraction of different spatial frequencies following a “coarse-to-fine” analysis. The rapid analysis of coarse information in low spatial frequencies (LSF) would provide a global overview of the scene which would then be refined by later analysis of fine information in high spatial frequencies (HSF). The aim of this thesis is to specify the neuro-functional and cognitive mechanisms of spatial frequency and natural scene processing as well as their evolution during normal and pathological aging. In a first fMRI study (Experiment 1), we showed the coexistence of retinotopic and hemispheric processing for spatial frequencies in occipital cortex. In addition, we showed that scene selective regions in the parahippocampal gyrus and retrosplenial cortex were also involved in the processing of spatial frequencies. Therefore, in the following fMRI studies (Experiments 2, 3 and 4), we were particularly interested in spatial frequency processing and "coarse-to-fine" analysis in these selective regions. In the second part of this work, we showed that the “coarse-to-fine” strategy observed in healthy young adults becomes flexible with increasing age (Experiment 5). To clarify the retina-cortex interactions, we studied the categorization performance of patients with age-related macular degeneration. This pathology is characterized by lesions of the central retina, which is thought to be the origin of the visual pathway conveying HSF. We have demonstrated a behavioral deficit (Experiments 6 and 7) of HSF processing linked to hypoactivity of occipital cortex in these patients (Experiment 8). These works clarify the mechanisms involved in scene perception.
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Benoit Musel. Mécanismes neurocognitifs de la perception visuelle de scènes chez le jeune adulte et leur évolution au cours du vieillissement normal et pathologique. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENS025⟩. ⟨tel-00858312⟩

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