Event Abstract

Atypical neural response to high and low spatial frequency stimuli in a rare case of visual perseveration

  • 1 Macquarie University, Cognitive Science, Australia
  • 2 Macquarie University, Centre for Cognition and its Disorders, Australia

Visual perseveration is an unusual pathology that results in visual persistence of images in the absence of the original stimulus. There is often a short delay between the visual stimulation and the corresponding mental image or internal representation. The mental image usually disappears within seconds, although it may persist for several minutes and in some cases for much longer. Here we present a case of a young male, M, presenting with severe long-term visual perseveration of unknown eitiology who performs normally on all previous clinical examinations. His images often persist for several minutes and cause major disruption to his life. The onset occurred in his late teens but there is no known trauma. Structural MRI scanning revealed no obvious neurological damage. We performed Magnetoencephalograhy (MEG) while presenting spatially filtered face and house stimuli to assess the integrity of magnocellular and parvocellular pathways within the visual system. The magnocellular pathway is dominated by low spatial frequency (LSF) information and is faster than the parvocellular pathway, which processes high spatial frequency (HSF) information. This revealed an unusual pattern: M’s M170 was greater for HSF than LSF faces, whereas the opposite was evident in normal controls. In addition, M showed no difference in his M170 to HSF and LSF places whereas controls showed a greater response to HSF places than LSF places. We speculate that this atypical neural response to differing spatial frequencies reflects a mismatch in the information processing in these two pathways, resulting in M’s visual perseveration.


ANR and MAW are supported by the Australian Research Council (DP0984494 and DP0984494).

Keywords: Visual perseveration, visual persistence, Magnetoencephalograhy, magnocellular pathway, Parvocellular pathway, M170

Conference: ACNS-2012 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 29 Nov - 2 Dec, 2012.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Topic: Sensation and Perception

Citation: Williams MA, Awasthi B, Sowman PF, Finkbeiner MS and Rich AN (2012). Atypical neural response to high and low spatial frequency stimuli in a rare case of visual perseveration. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: ACNS-2012 Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2012.208.00163

Received: 25 Oct 2012; Published Online: 17 Nov 2012.

* Correspondence: Dr. Mark A Williams, Macquarie University, Cognitive Science, Sydney, Australia, mark.williams@mq.edu.au

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