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An fMRI study of the neural correlates of graded visual perception

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  • Mark S Christensen, Denmark
  • Thomas Z Ramsøy, Denmark
  • Torben E Lund
  • Kristoffer H Madsen, Denmark
  • James B Rowe, Denmark
The 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage
Volume31
Issue4
Pages (from-to)1711-25
Number of pages14
ISSN1053-8119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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