Quantitative relations between parietal activation and performance in mental rotation

Neuroreport: An International Journal for the Rapid Communication of Research in Neuroscience - 1996-02-29Tagaris GA, Kim SG, Strupp JP, Andersen P, Ugurbil K, Georgopoulos AP
The quantitative relationships between functional activation of the superior parietal lobule (SPL) and performance in the Shepard-Metzler mental rotation task were investigated in 16 human subjects using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at high field (4 Tesla). Subjects were shown pairs of perspective drawings of three-dimensional objects and asked to judge whether they were the same or mirror images. Increased SPL activation was associated with a higher proportion of errors in performance. The increase in errors, and the concomitant increase in SPL activation, could be due to an increased difficulty in, and therefore increased demands for, information processing at several stages involved in making a decision, including encoding of the visual images shown, mentally rotating them, and judging whether they are the same or mirror images.