Visual field maps in human cortex

Neuron. 2007 Oct 25;56(2):366-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.10.012.


Much of the visual cortex is organized into visual field maps: nearby neurons have receptive fields at nearby locations in the image. Mammalian species generally have multiple visual field maps with each species having similar, but not identical, maps. The introduction of functional magnetic resonance imaging made it possible to identify visual field maps in human cortex, including several near (1) medial occipital (V1,V2,V3), (2) lateral occipital (LO-1,LO-2, hMT+), (3) ventral occipital (hV4, VO-1, VO-2), (4) dorsal occipital (V3A, V3B), and (5) posterior parietal cortex (IPS-0 to IPS-4). Evidence is accumulating for additional maps, including some in the frontal lobe. Cortical maps are arranged into clusters in which several maps have parallel eccentricity representations, while the angular representations within a cluster alternate in visual field sign. Visual field maps have been linked to functional and perceptual properties of the visual system at various spatial scales, ranging from the level of individual maps to map clusters to dorsal-ventral streams. We survey recent measurements of human visual field maps, describe hypotheses about the function and relationships between maps, and consider methods to improve map measurements and characterize the response properties of neurons comprising these maps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Neurological
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*