Visual cortex maps are optimized for uniform coverage

Nat Neurosci. 2000 Aug;3(8):822-6. doi: 10.1038/77731.


Cat visual cortex contains a topographic map of visual space, plus superimposed, spatially periodic maps of ocular dominance, spatial frequency and orientation. It is hypothesized that the layout of these maps is determined by two constraints: continuity or smooth mapping of stimulus properties across the cortical surface, and coverage uniformity or uniform representation of combinations of map features over visual space. Here we use a quantitative measure of coverage uniformity (c') to test the hypothesis that cortical maps are optimized for coverage. When we perturbed the spatial relationships between ocular dominance, spatial frequency and orientation maps obtained in single regions of cortex, we found that cortical maps are at a local minimum for c'. This suggests that coverage optimization is an important organizing principle governing cortical map development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cats
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Retina / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields