Abstract

The methods of neuroiconics and functional magnetic-resonance tomography are used to investigate the factors that limit the possibilities of visual search. The influence of an image of a human face hidden in the background on the activity of the observer’s brain was recorded during the task of tracking a moving ring. It is established that images are unconsciously perceived under threshold-presentation conditions, and this is reflected in the activation of the fusiform gyrus—a region of the brain that participates in face recognition. Under above-threshold presentation conditions, the parietal and frontal regions of the brain were also activated, but activity in this case decreased in the auditory, motor, and certain other regions of the brain not occupied in signal processing. The resulting data reveal the significance of the background semantics under conditions of visual search and explain how the unconsciously perceived optical characteristics of a background image can affect the operator’s functional state.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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