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Imagery neurons in the human brain

Kreiman, Gabriel and Koch, Christof and Fried, Itzhak (2000) Imagery neurons in the human brain. Nature, 408 (6810). pp. 357-361. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/35042575.

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Vivid visual images can be voluntarily generated in our minds in the absence of simultaneous visual input. While trying to count the number of flowers in Van Gogh's Sunflowers, understanding a description or recalling a path, subjects report forming an image in their "mind's eye". Whether this process is accomplished by the same neuronal mechanisms as visual perception has long been a matter of debate. Evidence from functional imaging, psychophysics, neurological studies and monkey electrophysiology suggests a common process, yet there are patients with deficits in one but not the other. Here we directly investigated the neuronal substrates of visual recall by recording from single neurons in the human medial temporal lobe while the subjects were asked to imagine previously viewed images. We found single neurons in the hippocampus, amygdala, entorhinal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus that selectively altered their firing rates depending on the stimulus the subjects were imagining. Of the neurons that fired selectively during both vision and imagery, the majority (88%) had identical selectivity. Our study reveals single neuron correlates of volitional visual imagery in humans and suggests a common substrate for the processing of incoming visual information and visual recall.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Fried, Itzhak0000-0002-5962-2678
Additional Information:Received 21 July 2000; Accepted 22 August 2000. © 2000 Macmillan Magazines Ltd. This work was supported by grants from NIH, the Centre for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona and the Keck Foundation. We thank M. Zirlinger for discussions, T. Fields, C. Wilson, E. Isham and E. Behnke for help with the recordings, F. Crick for comments and I. Wainwright for editorial assistance. We also thank all the patients who participated in these studies.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of Arizona Centre for Consciousness StudiesUNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6810
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130816-103250944
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40576
Deposited By: KLAB Import
Deposited On:16 Jan 2008 01:08
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:49

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