Mental Visual Synthesis is Originated in the Fronto-temporal Network of the Left Hemisphere

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Mental visual synthesis is the capacity for experiencing, constructing, or manipulating ‘mental imagery’. To investigate brain networks involved in mental visual synthesis, brain activity was measured in right-handed healthy volunteers during mental imagery tasks, in which the subjects were instructed to imagine a novel object, that does not exist in the real world, by composing it from two visually presented words associated with a real object or two achromatic line drawings of a real object, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Both tasks activated the same areas in the inferior frontal and inferior temporal cortices of the left hemisphere. Our results indicate that the source of mental visual synthesis may be formed by activity of a brain network consisting of these areas, which are also involved in semantic operations and visual imagery.

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