Neuroimaging studies of cortical activation during image transformation tasks have shown that mental rotation may rely on similar brain regions as those underlying visual perceptual mechanisms. The V5 complex, which is specialised for visual motion, is one region that has been implicated. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate rotational and linear transformation of stimuli. Areas of significant brain activation were identified for each of the primary mental transformation tasks in contrast to its own perceptual reference task which was cognitively matched in all respects except for the variable of interest. Analysis of group data for perception of rotational and linear motion showed activation in areas corresponding to V5 as defined in earlier studies. Both rotational and linear mental transformations activated Brodman Area (BA) 19 but did not activate V5. An area within the inferior temporal gyrus, representing an inferior satellite area of V5, was activated by both the rotational perception and rotational transformation tasks, but showed no activation in response to linear motion perception or transformation. The findings demonstrate the extent to which neural substrates for image transformation and perception overlap and are distinct as well as revealing functional specialisation within perception and transformation processing systems.
- linear transformation
- mental rotation