Distributed neural systems for the generation of visual images

Neuron. 2000 Dec;28(3):979-90. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)00168-9.


Visual perception of houses, faces, and chairs evoke differential responses in ventral temporal cortex. Using fMRI, we compared activations evoked by perception and imagery of these object categories. We found content-related activation during imagery in extrastriate cortex, but this activity was restricted to small subsets of the regions that showed category-related activation during perception. Within ventral temporal cortex, activation during imagery evoked stronger responses on the left whereas perception evoked stronger responses on the right. Additionally, visual imagery evoked activity in parietal and frontal cortex, but this activity was not content related. These results suggest that content-related activation during imagery in visual extrastriate cortex may be implemented by "top-down" mechanisms in parietal and frontal cortex that mediate the retrieval of face and object representations from long-term memory and their maintenance through visual imagery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*