Individual differences in cerebral blood flow in area 17 predict the time to evaluate visualized letters

J Cogn Neurosci. Winter 1996;8(1):78-82. doi: 10.1162/jocn.1996.8.1.78.

Abstract

Sixteen subjects closed their eyes and visualized uppercase letters of the alphabet at two sizes, as small as possible or as large as possible while remaining "visible." Subjects evaluated a shape characteristic of each letter (e.g., whether it has any curved lines), and responded as quickly as possible. Cerebral blood flow was normalized to the same value for each subject, and relative blood flow was computed for a set of regions of interest. The mean response time for each subject in the task was regressed onto the blood flow values. Blood flow in area 17 was negatively correlated with response time (r = -0.65), as was blood flow in area 19 (r = -0.66), whereas blood flow in the inferior parietal lobe was positively correlated with response time (r = 0.54). The first two effects persisted even when variance due to the other correlations was removed. These findings suggest that individual differences in the activation of specific brain loci are directly related to performance of tasks that rely on processing in those loci.