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.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 13 2001|
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