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We report evidence from a PET activation study that the inferior occipital gyri (likely to include area V2) and the posterior parts of the fusiform and inferior temporal gyri are involved in the integration of visual elements into perceptual wholes (single objects). Of these areas, the fusiform and inferior temporal gyri were more activated by tasks with recognizable stimuli than by tasks with unrecognizable stimuli. We propose that the posterior parts of the fusiform and inferior temporal gyri, compared with the inferior occipital gyri, are involved in higher level integration, due to the involvement of re-entrant activation from stored structural knowledge. Evidence in favor of this interpretation comes from the additional finding that activation of the anterior part of the left fusiform gyrus and a more anterior part of the right inferior temporal gyrus, areas previously associated with access to stored structural knowledge, was found with recognizable stimuli, but not with unrecognizable stimuli. This latter finding also indicates: (i) that subjects may not refrain from (automatically) identifying objects even if they only have to attend to the objects' global shape, and (ii) that perceptual and memorial processes can be dissociated on both functional and anatomical grounds. No evidence was obtained for the involvement of the parietal lobes in the integration of single objects.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1254 - 1267


Adult, Attention, Brain Mapping, Discrimination Learning, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Mental Recall, Occipital Lobe, Parietal Lobe, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Perceptual Closure, Reference Values, Temporal Lobe, Tomography, Emission-Computed