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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceCase Report

The Architect Who Lost the Ability to Imagine: The Cerebral Basis of Visual Imagery

1
Icelandic Vision Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Iceland, 102 Reykjavik, Iceland
2
Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB27EF, UK
3
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London WC1N3AZ, UK
4
Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, 1726 Copenhagen, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10020059
Received: 9 December 2019 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 19 January 2020 / Published: 21 January 2020
While the loss of mental imagery following brain lesions was first described more than a century ago, the key cerebral areas involved remain elusive. Here we report neuropsychological data from an architect (PL518) who lost his ability for visual imagery following a bilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke. We compare his profile to three other patients with bilateral PCA stroke and another architect with a large PCA lesion confined to the right hemisphere. We also compare structural images of their lesions, aiming to delineate cerebral areas selectively lesioned in acquired aphantasia. When comparing the neuropsychological profile and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the aphantasic architect PL518 to patients with either a comparable background (an architect) or bilateral PCA lesions, we find: (1) there is a large overlap of cognitive deficits between patients, with the very notable exception of aphantasia which only occurs in PL518, and (2) there is large overlap of the patients’ lesions. The only areas of selective lesion in PL518 is a small patch in the left fusiform gyrus as well as part of the right lingual gyrus. We suggest that these areas, and perhaps in particular the region in the left fusiform gyrus, play an important role in the cerebral network involved in visual imagery. View Full-Text
Keywords: visual imagery; stroke; posterior cerebral artery; aphantasia; prosopagnosia; visual perception visual imagery; stroke; posterior cerebral artery; aphantasia; prosopagnosia; visual perception
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MDPI and ACS Style

Thorudottir, S.; Sigurdardottir, H.M.; Rice, G.E.; Kerry, S.J.; Robotham, R.J.; Leff, A.P.; Starrfelt, R. The Architect Who Lost the Ability to Imagine: The Cerebral Basis of Visual Imagery. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 59. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10020059

AMA Style

Thorudottir S, Sigurdardottir HM, Rice GE, Kerry SJ, Robotham RJ, Leff AP, Starrfelt R. The Architect Who Lost the Ability to Imagine: The Cerebral Basis of Visual Imagery. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(2):59. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10020059

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thorudottir, Sandra; Sigurdardottir, Heida M.; Rice, Grace E.; Kerry, Sheila J.; Robotham, Ro J.; Leff, Alex P.; Starrfelt, Randi. 2020. "The Architect Who Lost the Ability to Imagine: The Cerebral Basis of Visual Imagery" Brain Sci. 10, no. 2: 59. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10020059

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