Visual areas and spatial summation in human visual cortex

Vision Res. 2001;41(10-11):1321-32. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(01)00074-8.


Functional MRI measurements can securely partition the human posterior occipital lobe into retinotopically organized visual areas (V1, V2 and V3) with experiments that last only 30 min. Methods for identifying functional areas in the dorsal and ventral aspect of the human occipital cortex, however, have not achieved this level of precision; in fact, different laboratories have produced inconsistent reports concerning the visual areas in dorsal and ventral occipital lobe. We report four findings concerning the visual representation in dorsal regions of occipital cortex. First, cortex near area V3A contains a central field representation that is distinct from the foveal representation at the confluence of areas V1, V2 and V3. Second, adjacent to V3A there is a second visual area, V3B, which represents both the upper and lower quadrants. The central representation in V3B appears to merge with that of V3A, much as the central representations of V1/2/3 come together on the lateral margin of the posterior pole. Third, there is yet another dorsal representation of the central visual field. This representation falls in area V7, which includes a representation of both the upper and lower quadrants of the visual field. Fourth, based on visual field and spatial summation measurements, it appears that the receptive field properties of neurons in area V7 differ from those in areas V3A and V3B.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology*