Frontiers in Neurology (Feb 2019)

Functional Neuroanatomy of Vertical Visual Perception in Humans

  • Arnaud Saj,
  • Arnaud Saj,
  • Arnaud Saj,
  • Liliane Borel,
  • Jacques Honoré

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10


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Vertical representation is central to posture control, as well as to spatial perception and navigation. This representation has been studied for a long time in patients with vestibular disorders and more recently in patients with hemispheric damage, in particular in those with right lesions causing spatial or postural deficits. The aim of the study was to determine the brain areas involved in the visual perception of the vertical. Sixteen right-handed healthy participants were evaluated using fMRI while they were judging the verticality of lines or, in a control task, the color of the same lines. The brain bases of the vertical perception proved to involve a bilateral temporo-occipital and parieto-occipital cortical network, with a right dominance tendency, associated with cerebellar and brainstem areas. Consistent with the outcomes of neuroanatomical studies in stroke patients, The data of this original fMRI study in healthy subjects provides new insights into brain networks associated with vertical perception which is typically impaired in both vestibular and spatial neglect patients. Interestingly, these networks include not only brain areas associated with postural control but also areas implied in body representation.