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This study examines how brain damage can affect the cognitive processes that support the integration of sensory input and prior knowledge during shape perception. It is based on the first detailed study of acquired ventral simultanagnosia, which was found in a patient (M.T.) with posterior occipitotemporal lesions encompassing V4 bilaterally. Despite showing normal object recognition for single items in both accuracy and response times (RTs), and intact low-level vision assessed across an extensive battery of tests, M.T. was impaired in object identification with overlapping figures displays. Task performance was modulated by familiarity: Unlike controls, M.T. was faster with overlapping displays of abstract shapes than with overlapping displays of common objects. His performance with overlapping common object displays was also influenced by both the semantic relatedness and visual similarity of the display items. These findings challenge claims that visual perception is driven solely by feedforward mechanisms and show how brain damage can selectively impair high-level perceptual processes supporting the integration of stored knowledge and visual sensory input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-583
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2012
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