Retinotopic organization of visual mental images as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging.


In this study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate whether visual mental images retinotopically activate early visual cortex. Six participants were instructed to visualize or view horizontally or vertically oriented flashing bow-tie shaped stimuli. When compared to baseline, imagery globally activated Area V1. When the activation evoked by the stimuli at the different orientations was directly compared, distinct spatial activation patterns were obtained for each orientation in most participants. Not only was the topography of the activation patterns from imagery similar to the topography obtained with a corresponding visual perception task, but it closely matched the individual cortical representation of either the horizontal or the vertical visual field meridians. These findings strongly support that visual imagery and perception share low-level anatomical substrate and functional processes. Binding of spatial features is suggested as one possible mechanism.

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@article{Klein2004RetinotopicOO, title={Retinotopic organization of visual mental images as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging.}, author={Isabelle F . Klein and Jessica Dubois and Jean-Francois Mangin and Ferath Kherif and Guillaume Flandin and Jean Baptiste Poline and Michel Denis and Stephen M. Kosslyn and Denis Le Bihan}, journal={Brain research. Cognitive brain research}, year={2004}, volume={22 1}, pages={26-31} }