Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The role of temporal synchrony as a binding cue for visual persistence in early visual areas: An fMRI study

Wong, Yvonne J.; Aldcroft, Adrian J.; Large, Mary-Ellen; Culham, Jody C.; Vilis, Tutis


Yvonne J. Wong

Adrian J. Aldcroft

Jody C. Culham

Tutis Vilis


We examined the role of temporal synchrony - the simultaneous appearance of visual features - in the perceptual and neural processes underlying object persistence. When a binding cue (such as color or motion) momentarily exposes an object from a background of similar elements, viewers remain aware of the object for several seconds before it perceptually fades into the background, a phenomenon known as object persistence. We showed that persistence from temporal stimulus synchrony, like that arising from motion and color, is associated with activation in the lateral occipital (LO) area, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. We also compared the distribution of occipital cortex activity related to persistence to that of iconic visual memory. Although activation related to iconic memory was largely confined to LO, activation related to object persistence was present across V1 to LO, peaking in V3 and V4, regardless of the binding cue (temporal synchrony, motion, or color). Although persistence from motion cues was not associated with higher activation in the MT + motion complex, persistence from color cues was associated with increased activation in V4. Taken together, these results demonstrate that although persistence is a form of visual memory, it relies on neural mechanisms different from those of iconic memory. That is, persistence not only activates LO in a cue-independent manner, it also recruits visual areas that may be necessary to maintain binding between object elements. Copyright © 2009 The American Physiological Society.


Wong, Y. J., Aldcroft, A. J., Large, M., Culham, J. C., & Vilis, T. (2009). The role of temporal synchrony as a binding cue for visual persistence in early visual areas: An fMRI study. Journal of Neurophysiology, 102(6), 3461-3468.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 3, 2009
Publication Date Dec 1, 2009
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Journal Of Neurophysiology
Print ISSN 0022-3077
Electronic ISSN 1522-1598
Publisher American Physiological Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 102
Issue 6
Pages 3461-3468
Keywords Physiology; General Neuroscience
Public URL
Publisher URL