Visual consciousness: Dissociating the neural correlates of perceptual transitions from sustained perception with fMRI

Consciousness and Cognition 13 (1):61-72 (2004)
To investigate the possible dichotomy between the neurophysiological bases of perceptual transitions versus sustaining a particular percept over time, an fMRI study was conducted with subjects viewing fragmented pictures. Unlike most other perceptually unstable stimuli, fragmented pictures give rise to only one perceptual transition and a continuous period of sustained perception. Earlier research is inconclusive on the subject of which anatomical regions should be attributed to what temporal aspect of perception, and the aim of the present study was to shed more light on the subject. In this study occipitotemporal and fronto-parietal regions were found to be activated for both aspects. However, regions in the medial-temporal lobe were activated specifically for transitions, whereas medial and dorsolateral prefrontal regions were activated specifically for sustained perception. These results provide further support for the theory that the initial creation of perceptual awareness and upholding perceptual awareness over time are separate processes involving different brain regions
Keywords *Awareness  *Dissociation  *Magnetic Resonance Imaging  *Perceptual Orientation  *Visual Perception  Frontal Lobe  Occipital Lobe  Self Perception
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DOI 10.1016/S1053-8100(03)00050-3
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