Cortical activation while watching video montage: An fMRI study. Anderson, D. R. Media Psychology, 8 (1), 7-24. 2006.

Comprehending edited film or video that depicts visual action requires complex perceptual and cognitive activities to appreciate the flow of action through space and time across sequences of shots. We hypothesized that these complex events are associated with the coordinated activities of multiple brain areas that are not activated by random sequences of shots. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a distributed cortical network was identified that is uniquely activated during viewing of normal video action sequences, but not by sequences of random video shots or by highly scrambled video image sequences. This cortical network includes extrastriate, inferotemporal, parietal, posterior cingulate, and frontal areas and are predominantly in the right hemisphere. Notably, though there was no activation of classical, left hemisphere language areas, there was activation in the right hemisphere homologues of left hemisphere language areas. In all anatomical areas but 1 in the identified network, there was nearby activation during the random shot sequences. This exception, activated only by normal, coherent shot sequences, was in the posterior cingulate (Brodmann area 31). The comprehension of edited visual action sequences that are typical of contemporary film and video formats appears to be based upon the coordinated activities of multiple brain areas that are bound together functionally in a high-level cognitive network. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2006 APA, all rights reserved)(from the journal abstract)