Unique mode of perception, or the ability to see things differently from others, is one of the psychological resources required for creative mental activities. Behavioral studies using ambiguous visual stimuli have successfully induced diverse responses from subjects, and the unique responses defined in this paradigm were observed in higher frequency in the artistic population as compared to the nonartistic population. However, the neural substrates that underlie such unique perception have yet to be investigated. In the present study, ten ambiguous figures were used as stimuli. The subjects were instructed to say what the figures looked like during functional MRI scanning. The responses were classified as "frequent", "infrequent" or "unique" responses based on the appearance frequency of the same response in an independent age- and gender-matched control group. An event-related analysis contrasting unique vs. frequent responses revealed the greatest activation in the right temporal pole, which survived a whole brain multiple comparison. An alternative parametric modulation analysis was also performed to show that potentially confounding perceptual effects deriving from differences in visual stimuli make no significant contribution to this temporopolar activation. Previous neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies have shown the involvement of the temporal pole in perception-emotion linkage. Thus, our results suggest that unique perception is produced by the integration of perceptual and emotional processes, and this integration might underlie essential parts of creative mental activities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience