Role of the human retrosplenial cortex/parieto-occipital sulcus in perspective priming

Valentina Sulpizio, Giorgia Committeri, Simon Lambrey, Alain Berthoz, Gaspare Galati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to imagine the world from a different viewpoint is a fundamental competence for spatial reorientation and for imagining what another individual sees in the environment. Here, we investigated the neural bases of such an ability using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Healthy participants detected target displacements across consecutive views of a familiar virtual room, either from the perspective of an avatar (primed condition) or in the absence of such a prime (unprimed condition). In the primed condition, the perspective at test always corresponded to the avatar's perspective, while in the unprimed condition it was randomly chosen as 0, 45 or 135 deg of viewpoint rotation. We observed a behavioral advantage in performing a perspective transformation during the primed condition as compared to an equivalent amount of unprimed perspective change. Although many cortical regions (dorsal parietal, parieto-temporo-occipital junction, precuneus and retrosplenial cortex/parieto-occipital sulcus or RSC/POS) were involved in encoding and retrieving target location from different perspectives and were modulated by the amount of viewpoint rotation, the RSC/POS was the only area showing decreased activity in the primed as compared to the unprimed condition, suggesting that this region anticipates the upcoming perspective change. The retrosplenial cortex/parieto-occipital sulcus appears to play a special role in the allocentric coding of heading directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-119
Number of pages12
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 17 2015


  • Functional magnetic resonance (fMRI)
  • Perspective priming
  • Retrosplenial cortex/parieto-occipital sulcus (RSC/POS)
  • Spatial memory
  • Viewpoint change
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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