An fMRI study of the neural correlates of graded visual perception

Mark Schram Christensen, Thomas Z. Ramsoy, Torben Ellegaard Lund, Kristoffer Hougaard Madsen, James B. Rowe

AbstractThe neural correlates of clearly perceived visual stimuli have been reported previously in contrast to unperceived stimuli, but it is uncertain whether intermediate or graded perceptual experiences correlate with different patterns of neural activity. In this study, the subjective appearance of briefly presented visual stimuli was rated individually by subjects with respect to perceptual clarity: clear, vague or no experience of a stimulus. Reports of clear experiences correlated with activation in a widespread network of brain areas, including parietal cortex, prefrontal cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor areas, insula and thalamus. The reports of graded perceptual clarity were reflected in graded neural activity in a network comprising the precentral gyrus, intraparietal sulcus, basal ganglia and the insula. In addition, the reports of vague experiences demonstrated unique patterns of activation. Different degrees of perceptual clarity were reflected both in the degree to which activation was found within parts of the network serving a clear conscious percept, and additional unique activation patterns for different degrees of perceptual clarity. Our findings support theories proposing the involvement of a widespread network of brain areas during conscious perception
KeywordsAdult; Attention; Brain; Brain Mapping; Consciousness; Female; Humans; Image Processing,Computer-Assisted; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Nerve Net; Photic Stimulation; physiology; Psychomotor Performance; Visual Perception
TypeJournal paper [With referee]
JournalNeuroimage
Year2006    Month July    Vol. 18    No. 31    pp. 1711-1725
BibTeX data [bibtex]
IMM Group(s)Intelligent Signal Processing


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