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How Does the Brain Sustain a Visual Percept?

C. M. Portas, B. A. Strange, K. J. Friston, R. J. Dolan and C. D. Frith
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 267, No. 1446 (May 7, 2000), pp. 845-850
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2665660
Page Count: 6
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How Does the Brain Sustain a Visual Percept?
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Abstract

Perception involves the processing of sensory stimuli and their translation into conscious experience. A novel percept can, once synthesized, be maintained or discarded from awareness. We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to separate the neural responses associated with the maintenance of a percept, produced by single-image, random-dot stereograms, from the response evoked at the onset of the percept. The latter was associated with distributed bilateral activation in the posterior thalamus and regions in the occipito-temporal, parietal and frontal cortices. In contrast, sustained perception was associated with activation of the pre-frontal cortex and hippocampus. This observation suggests that sustaining a visual percept involves neuroanatomical systems which are implicated in memory function and which are distinct from those engaged during perceptual synthesis.

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