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The degree to which the process involved in visual perception and visual imagery share a common neuroanatomical substrate is unclear. Physiological evidence for localization of visual imagery early in the visual pathways would have important bearing on current theories of visual processing. A magnetic resonance imaging technique sensitive to regional changes in blood oxygenation was used to obtain functional activation maps in the human visual cortex. During recall of a visual stimulus, focal increases in signal related to changes in blood flow were detected in V1 and V2 cortex in five of seven subjects. These experiments show that the same areas of the early visual cortex that are excited by visual stimulation are also activated during mental representation of the same stimulus. Some of the processes used in topographically mapped cortical areas during visual perception may also be utilized during visual recall.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





11802 - 11805


Adult, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Memory, Middle Aged, Photic Stimulation, Time Factors, Visual Cortex, Visual Perception