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Int J Psychophysiol. 2009 Aug;73(2):150-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2009.04.009. Epub 2009 May 3.

Neural correlates of "analytical-specific visual perception" and degree of task difficulty as investigated by the Mangina-Test: a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in young healthy adults.

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  • 1Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory, Montreal Research and Treatment Center for Learning Abilities and Disabilities, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The Mangina-Test is a neuropsychometric method for evaluating varying degrees of "analytical-specific perception" as they relate to learning abilities and disabilities. It consists of the identification of simple stimuli which are masked within a complex configuration according to their exact size, dimension, direction, spatial orientation, and shape within a limited span of time. This test has been successfully applied in clinical settings for the assessment of cognitive abilities and disorders in young and elderly populations. This investigation aimed to examine the neural correlates of analytical-specific visual perceptual processes as measured by the Mangina-Test. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was recorded during the administration of a computer-adapted version of the Mangina-Test in twelve young healthy adults. Multiple linear regression analysis was applied to estimate the overall brain activation during task accomplishment. In addition, the fMRI response area was correlated with task difficulty, in order to explore the spatial distribution of brain regions modulated by increasing task demand. Results indicate that a widely distributed bilateral network of brain regions, including the ventral and dorsal occipital cortex, parietal lobule, frontal and supplementary eye field, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and supplementary motor area, was significantly activated during test performance. Moreover, increasing difficulty significantly enhanced the neural response of ventral and dorsal occipital regions, frontal eye field, and superior parietal sulcus bilaterally, as well as the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Conversely, neural activity in the left temporo-parietal junction, inferior frontal gyrus, and bilateral middle-superior temporal cortex was inversely correlated with task difficulty. Results also indicate that performance in the Mangina-Test requires an optimal integration between the enhancement of activity in specific task-related cortical areas and suppression of interfering noise from unrelated brain regions.

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