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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

July 1999, Vol. 11, No. 4, Pages 459-466
(doi: 10.1162/089892999563535)
© 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Illusory Contour Perception and Amodal Boundary Completion: Evidence of a Dissociation Following Callosotomy
Article PDF (139.53 KB)

A fundamental problem in form perception is how the visual system can link together spatially separated contour fragments to form the percept of a unitary shape. Illusory contours and amodal completion are two phenomena that demonstrate this linking process. In the present study we investigate these phenomena in the divided hemispheres of two callosotomy (“split-brain”) patients. The data suggest that dissociable neural mechanisms are responsible for the generation of illusory contours and amodal completion. Although both cerebral hemispheres appear to be equally capable of perceiving illusory contours, amodal completion is more readily utilized by the right hemisphere. These results suggest that illusory contours may be attributable to low-level visual processes common to both hemispheres, whereas amodal completion reflects a higher-level, lateralized process.