Time-resolved Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of mental rotation
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagingseeks to elucidate neuronal activity during a single execution of a mental task, which corresponds typically to a timescale of seconds. However, this is also the timescale of the hemodynamic response, which delays and blurs the signal in time. In order to distinguish the temporal characteristics of the neuronal activity from that of the hemodynamic response, which is often vaguely known, we recorded a set of
fMRItime courses under conditions of a varying behavioral parameter, and correlated this parameter to the width of the
fMRIresponse. For the task under investigation, the mental rotation of three-dimensional objects, we found that the activation in the parietal lobe is related to an aspect of the task that is described by the reaction time (for example, the very act of mental rotation), and not only to aspects of the task that are constant from trial to trial, such as the visual presentation at the beginning or the decision at the end of the task.