The functional anatomy of imagining and perceiving colour

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WE report two functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments which reveal similarities and differences between perceptual and imaginal networks within the single visual submodality of colour. The first experiment contrasted viewing of a coloured and grey-scale Mondrian display, while the second contrasted a relative colour judgement with a spatial task and required the generation of mental images. Our results show that colour perception activates the posterior fusiform gyrus bilaterally (area V4), plus right-sided anterior fusiform and lingual gyri, striate cortex (area V1), and the left and right insula. Colour imagery activated right anterior fusiform gyrus, left insula, right hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus, but not V4 or V1. The findings reconcile neurological case studies suggesting a double dissociation between deficits in colour imagery and perception and point to anterior fusiform, parahippocampal gyri and hippocampus as the location for stored representations of coloured objects.

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