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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Fall 1992, Vol. 4, No. 4, Pages 311-322
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.1992.4.4.311)
© 1992 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Functional Associations among Human Posterior Extrastriate Brain Regions during Object and Spatial Vision
Article PDF (1.07 MB)

Primate extrastriate visual cortex is organized into an occipitotemporal pathway for object vision and an occipitoparietal pathway for spatial vision. Correlations between normalized regional cerebral blood flow values (regional divided by global flows), obtained using H215O and positron emission tomography, were used to examine functional associations among posterior brain regions for these two pathways in 17 young men during performance of a face matching task and a dot-location matching task. During face matching, there was a significant correlation in the right hemisphere between an extrastriate occipital region that was equally activated during both the face matching and dot-location matching tasks and a region in inferior occipitotemporal cortex that was activated more during the face matching task. The corresponding correlation in the left hemisphere was not significantly different from zero. Significant intrahemispheric correlations among posterior regions were observed more often for the right than for the left hemisphere. During dot-location matching, many significant correlations were found among posterior regions in both hemispheres, but significant correlations between specific regions in occipital and parietal cortex shown to be reliably activated during this spatial vision test were found only in the right cerebral hemisphere. These results suggest that (1) correlational analysis of normalized rCBF can detect functional interactions between components of proposed brain circuits, and (2) face and dot-location matching depend primarily on functional interactions between posterior cortical areas in the right cerebral hemisphere. At the same time, left hemisphere cerebral processing may contribute more to dot-location matching than to face matching.