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Title: Neural fate of seen and unseen faces in visuospatial neglect: A combined event-related functional MRI and event-related potential study
Authors: Vuilleumier, P;Sagiv, N;Hazeltine, E;Poldrack, RA;Swick, D;Rafal, RD;Gabrieli, JDE
Year: 2001
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Description: This is a post print version of the article. The official published version can be obtained from the link below.
To compare neural activity produced by visual events that escape or reach conscious awareness, we used event-related MRI and evoked potentials in a patient who had neglect and extinction after focal right parietal damage, but intact visual fields. This neurological disorder entails a loss of awareness for stimuli in the field contralateral to a brain lesion when stimuli are simultaneously presented on the ipsilateral side, even though early visual areas may be intact, and single contralateral stimuli may still be perceived. Functional MRI and event-related potential study were performed during a task where faces or shapes appeared in the right, left, or both fields. Unilateral stimuli produced normal responses in V1 and extrastriate areas. In bilateral events, left faces that were not perceived still activated right V1 and inferior temporal cortex and evoked nonsignificantly reduced N1 potentials, with preserved face-specific negative potentials at 170 ms. When left faces were perceived, the same stimuli produced greater activity in a distributed network of areas including right V1 and cuneus, bilateral fusiform gyri, and left parietal cortex. Also, effective connectivity between visual, parietal, and frontal areas increased during perception of faces. These results suggest that activity can occur in V1 and ventral temporal cortex without awareness, whereas coupling with dorsal parietal and frontal areas may be critical for such activity to afford conscious perception. Right parietal damage may cause a loss of awareness for contralateral (left) sensory inputs, such as hemispatial neglect and extinction (1–3). Visual extinction is the failure to perceive a stimulus in the contralesional field when presented together with an ipsilesional stimulus (bilateral simultaneous stimulation, BSS), even though occipital visual areas are intact and unilateral contralesional stimuli can be perceived when presented alone. It reflects a deficit of spatial attention toward the contralesional side, excluding left inputs from awareness in the presence of competing stimuli (2, 3). Spatial attention involves a complex neural network centered on the right parietal lobe (4, 5), but how parietal and related areas interact with sensory processing in distant cortices is largely unknown. Here we combined event-related functional MRI (fMRI) and event-related potentials (ERPs) to study the regional pattern and temporal course of brain activity produced by seen and unseen stimuli in a patient with chronic neglect and extinction caused by parietal damage. In keeping with intact early visual areas in such patients, behavioral studies suggest that some residual processing may still occur for contralesional stimuli without attention, or without awareness, including “preattentive” grouping (e.g., refs. 6 and 7) and semantic priming (e.g., ref. 8). It has been speculated (3, 9) that such effects might relate to separate cortical visual streams, with temporal areas extracting object features for identification, and parietal areas encoding spatial locations and parameters for action (10). Because neglect and extinction follow parietal damage, residual perceptual and semantic processing still might occur in occipital and temporal cortex without awareness, in the absence of normal integration with concomitant processing in parietal regions. Our study tested this hypothesis by using event-related imaging and electrophysiology measures, which are widely used to study mechanisms of normal attention (11, 12). There have been few imaging (e.g., ref. 13) or ERP (e.g., ref. 14) studies in neglect, and most examined activity at rest or during passive unilateral visual stimulation, rather than in relation to awareness or extinction on bilateral stimulation. However, a recent ERP study (15) found signals evoked by perceived, but not extinguished, visual stimuli in a parietal patient. By contrast, functional imaging in another patient (16) showed activation of striate cortex by extinguished stimuli, although severe extinction on all bilateral stimuli precluded any comparison with normal perception. In our patient we used both fMRI and ERPs during a similar extinction task to determine the neural correlates of two critical conditions: (i) when contralesional stimuli are extinguished, and (ii) when the same stimuli are seen. Stimulus presentation was arranged so as to obtain a balanced number of extinguished and seen contralesional events across all bilateral trials. Like Rees et al. (16), we used face stimuli to exploit previous knowledge that face processing activates fusiform areas in temporal cortex (e.g., refs. 17 and 18), and elicits characteristic potentials 170–200 ms after stimulus onset (e.g., refs. 19–21) in addition to other visual components such as P1 and N1 (e.g., ref. 11). We reasoned that such responses might help trace the neural fate of contralesional stimuli (seen or extinguished) at both early and later processing stages in the visual system.
Standard no: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 98(6): 3495-3500, Mar 2001
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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