Multisensory cortical processing of object shape and its relation to mental imagery.

Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.
Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.21). 07/2004; 4(2):251-9. DOI: 10.3758/CABN.4.2.251
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the multisensory processing of object shape in the human cerebral cortex and explored the role of mental imagery in such processing. Regions active bilaterally during both visual and haptic shape perception, relative to texture perception in the respective modality, included parts of the superior parietal gyrus, the anterior intraparietal sulcus, and the lateral occipital complex. Of these bimodal regions, the lateral occipital complexes preferred visual over haptic stimuli, whereas the parietal areas preferred haptic over visual stimuli. Whereas most subjects reported little haptic imagery during visual shape perception, experiences of visual imagery during haptic shape perception were common. Across subjects, ratings of the vividness of visual imagery strongly predicted the amount of haptic shape-selective activity in the right, but not in the left, lateral occipital complex. Thus, visual imagery appears to contribute to activation of some, but not all, visual cortical areas during haptic perception.

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