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Neuroimage. 2002 Aug;16(4):857-72.

A parametric study of mental spatial transformations of bodies.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899, USA.


TWO CLASSES OF MENTAL SPATIAL TRANSFORMATION CAN BE DISTINGUISHED: Object-based spatial transformations are imagined movements of objects; and egocentric perspective transformations are imagined movements of one's point of view. The hypothesis that multiple neural systems contribute to these mental imagery operations was tested with functional MRI. Participants made spatial judgments about pictures of human bodies, and brain activity was analyzed as a function of the judgment required and the time taken to respond. Areas in right temporal, occipital and parietal cortex and the medial superior cerebellum appear to be differentially involved in object-based spatial transformations. Additionally, midline structures and lateral parietal cortex were found to decrease in activity during the spatial reasoning tasks, independently of the judgment required or of the latency of response. The results are discussed in terms of a model of spatial reasoning that postulates specialized subsystems for performing object-based and egocentric perspective image transformations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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