Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
In everyday environments, objects frequently go out of sight as they move and our view of them becomes obstructed by nearer objects, yet we perceive these objects as continuous and enduring entities. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging with an attentive tracking paradigm to clarify the nature of perceptual and cognitive mechanisms subserving this ability to fill in the gaps in perception of dynamic object occlusion. Imaging data revealed distinct regions of cortex showing increased activity during periods of occlusion relative to full visibility. These regions may support active maintenance of a representation of the target's spatiotemporal properties ensuring that the object is perceived as a persisting entity when occluded. Our findings may shed light on the neural substrates involved in object tracking that give rise to the phenomenon of object permanence.