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Bilateral Theta-Burst TMS to Influence Global Gestalt Perception

Authors
Journal
PLoS ONE
1932-6203
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Volume
7
Issue
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047820
Keywords
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuroimaging
  • Sensory Perception
  • Medicine
  • Mental Health
  • Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Social And Behavioral Sciences
  • Behavior
  • Neuropsychology

Abstract

While early and higher visual areas along the ventral visual pathway in the inferotemporal cortex are critical for the recognition of individual objects, the neural representation of human perception of complex global visual scenes remains under debate. Stroke patients with a selective deficit in the perception of a complex global Gestalt with intact recognition of individual objects – a deficit termed simultanagnosia – greatly helped to study this question. Interestingly, simultanagnosia typically results from bilateral lesions of the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). The present study aimed to verify the relevance of this area for human global Gestalt perception. We applied continuous theta-burst TMS either unilaterally (left or right) or bilateral simultaneously over TPJ. Healthy subjects were presented with hierarchically organized visual stimuli that allowed parametrical degrading of the object at the global level. Identification of the global Gestalt was significantly modulated only for the bilateral TPJ stimulation condition. Our results strengthen the view that global Gestalt perception in the human brain involves TPJ and is co-dependent on both hemispheres.

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