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Science. 1984 Jun 15;224(4654):1260-2.

Illusory contours and cortical neuron responses.


Figures in which human observers perceive "illusory contours" were found to evoke responses in cells of area 18 in the visual cortex of alert monkeys. The cells responded as if the contours were formed by real lines or edges. Modifications that weakened the perception of contours also reduced the neuronal responses. In contrast, cells in area 17 were apparently unable to "see" these contours.

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