The contribution of prefrontal cortex to global perception,Exp Brain Res, 3 (181), 427-434.
Recent research suggests a role of top-down modulatory signals on perceptual processing, particularly for the integration of local elementary information to form a global holistic percept. In this study we investigated whether prefrontal cortex may be instrumental in this top-down modulation in humans. We measured detection thresholds for perceiving a circle defined by a closed chain of grating patches in 6 patients with prefrontal lesions, 4 control patients with temporal lesions and 17 healthy control subjects. Performance of patients with prefrontal lesions was worse than that of patients with temporal lesions and normal controls when the patterns were sparse, requiring integration across relatively extensive regions of space, but similar to the control groups for denser patterns. The results clearly implicate the prefrontal cortex in the process of integrating elementary features into a holistic global percept, when the elements do not form a “pop-out” display.