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Hum Brain Mapp. 2004 Aug;22(4):321-8.

Neural substrates differentiating global/local processing of bilateral visual inputs.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Center for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China.


We investigated neural substrates of global/local processing of bilateral hierarchical stimuli using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Subjects were presented with two compound letters that were displayed simultaneously in the left and right visual fields, respectively. In a steady-state, block-design paradigm, hemodynamic responses were recorded while subjects detected infrequent global or local targets presented in one hemifield in separate epochs of trials. While behavioural responses were more accurate and faster to global than local targets, attention to the global level of bilateral visual inputs induced stronger activations in the left and right temporal cortex relative to attention to the local level. However, attention to the local level generated stronger activations in bilateral superior parietal cortex compared with attention to the global level. The results suggest that distinct neural substrates in the temporal and parietal cortices are preferentially engaged in the global and local processing of bilateral visual inputs, respectively.

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