Imagining rotation by endogenous versus exogenous forces: Distinct neural mechanisms

  title={Imagining rotation by endogenous versus exogenous forces: Distinct neural mechanisms},
  author={Stephen M. Kosslyn and William L. Thompson and Maryjane Wraga and Nathaniel M. Alpert},
Previous neuroimaging studies of mental image transformations have sometimes implicated motor processes and sometimes not. In this study, prior to neuroimaging the subjects either viewed an electric motor rotating an angular object, or they rotated the object manually. Following this, they performed the identical mental rotation task in which they compared members of pairs of such figures, but were asked to imagine the figures rotating as they had just seen the model rotate. When results from… 
An fMRI study of imagined self-rotation
Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to examine the neural mechanisms involved in the imagined spatial transformation of one’s body and indicated similar networks of activation to other egocentric transformation tasks involving decisions about body parts.
Imagined Viewer and Object Rotations Dissociated with Event-Related fMRI
These results argue against the view that mental image transformations are performed by a unitary neural processing system, and they suggest that different overlapping systems are engaged for different image transformations.
The role of the primary motor cortex in mental rotation: a TMS study
Findings suggest that the left but not the right M1 plays a critical role in MR of hands, as shown when participants' ability to mentally rotate right and left hands slowed down after TMS.
The Interaction Between the Parietal and Motor Areas in Dynamic Imagery Manipulation: An fMRI Study
Mental imagery is a cognitive function that includes sub-functions such as generation, transformation, and matching. However, the neural substrates for each sub-function are not yet clear. In the
Neural correlates of two imagined egocentric transformations
Motor Imagery in Mental Rotation: An fMRI Study
The results suggest that participants imagined moving both their hands in the hand condition, while imagining manipulating objects with their hand of preference in the tool condition, and the activation of cortical regions during mental rotation seems at least in part determined by an intrinsic process that depends on the afforded actions elicited by the kind of stimuli presented.
Implicit transfer of motor strategies in mental rotation
Effects of Strategies on Mental Rotation and Hemispheric Lateralization: Neuropsychological Evidence
Neuropsychological evidence is presented sustaining the view that what matters is the type of strategy adopted in MR, and it is concluded that MR is achieved by recruiting different strategies, implicitly triggered or prompted at will, each sustained by a unilateral brain network.


Changes in cortical activity during mental rotation. A mapping study using functional MRI.
Functional MRI was used to observe focal changes in blood flow in the brains of 10 healthy volunteers performing a mental rotation task, and data are consistent with the hypothesis that mental rotation engages cortical areas involved in tracking moving objects and encoding spatial relations.
Mental rotation of objects versus hands: neural mechanisms revealed by positron emission tomography.
The results suggest that at least two different mechanisms can be used in mental rotation, one mechanism that recruits processes that prepare motor movements and another mechanism that does not.
Use of implicit motor imagery for visual shape discrimination as revealed by PET
It is concluded that mental imagery is realized at intermediate-to-high order, modality-specific cortical systems, but does not require primary cortex and is not constrained to the perceptual systems of the presented stimuli.
Do imagined and executed actions share the same neural substrate?
  • J. Decety
  • Psychology, Biology
    Brain research. Cognitive brain research
  • 1996
Transcranial magnetic stimulation of primary motor cortex affects mental rotation.
These findings demonstrate that activation of the left primary motor cortex has a causal role in the mental rotation of pictures of hands and that this role is stimulus-specific because disruption of neural activity in the hand area slowed RTs for images of hands more than feet.
Identifying objects seen from different viewpoints. A PET investigation.
The pattern of results supported the view that the human brain identifies objects by using a system of areas similar to that suggested by studies of other primates.