Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2017 Aug;15(3):276-281. 10.9758/cpn.2017.15.3.276.

Neural Correlates of a Perspective-taking Task Using in a Realistic Three-dimmensional Environment Based Task: A Pilot Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Affiliations
  • 1The Schizophrenia Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India. venkat.nimhans@yahoo.com
  • 2Translational Psychiatry Laboratory, Cognitive Neurobiology Division, Neurobiology Research Centre, NIMHANS, Bangalore, India.
  • 3CIAMS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, Orsay, France.
  • 4CIAMS, Université d’Orléans, Orléans, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Perspective-taking ability is an essential spatial faculty that is of much interest in both health and neuropsychiatric disorders. There is limited data on the neural correlates of perspective taking in the context of a realistic three-dimensional environment. We report the results of a pilot study exploring the same in eight healthy volunteers.
METHODS
Subjects underwent two runs of an experiment in a 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) involving alternate blocks of a first-person perspective based allocentric object location memory task (OLMT), a third-person perspective based egocentric visual perspective taking task (VPRT), and a table task (TT) that served as a control. Difference in blood oxygen level dependant response during task performance was analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping software, version 12. Activations were considered significant if they survived family-wise error correction at the cluster level using a height threshold of p<0.001, uncorrected at the voxel level.
RESULTS
A significant difference in accuracy and reaction time based on task type was found. Subjects had significantly lower accuracy in VPRT compared to TT. Accuracy in the two active tasks was not significantly different. Subjects took significantly longer in the VPRT in comparison to TT. Reaction time in the two active tasks was not significantly different. Functional MRI revealed significantly higher activation in the bilateral visual cortex and left temporoparietal junction (TPJ) in VPRT compared to OLMT.
CONCLUSION
The results underscore the importance of TPJ in egocentric manipulation in healthy controls in the context of reality-based spatial tasks.

Keyword

Egocentric; Allocentric; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Temporoparietal junction
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