Coordinate and categorical judgements in spatial imagery. An fMRI study.

L. Trojano, D. Grossi, David Linden, E. Formisano, R.W. Goebel, S. Cirillo, R. Elefante, F. Di Salle

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Abstract

We aimed at verifying whether the hemispheric specialisation for categorical/coordinate spatial judgements also applies to the spatial imagery domain by the use of whole-brain fMRI. In a block-design experiment we used the "coordinate" mental clock test. contrasting it with a "categorical" task applied to the same clock stimuli; as a control task we used a syllable counting task requiring a verbal-phonological judgement on the same material of the two imagery tasks. Our results showed that categorical and coordinate Spatial judgements on imagined stimuli rely on the activation of a set of cortical areas, centred upon the superior parietal lobule (SPL) bilaterally. These regions, together with other parietal and prefrontal areas, showed a pattern of relative lateralization, with the left hemisphere being mainly activated during the categorical task and the right in the coordinate task. These data confirm the strong involvement of the SPL in spatial processing. Moreover. our findings suggest that different interconnected neural networks are activated to comply with specific test requirements. giving rise to functional imaging patterns compatible with psychological theories on hemispheric specialization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1666-1674
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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