Population receptive field estimates in human visual cortex

Neuroimage. 2008 Jan 15;39(2):647-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.09.034. Epub 2007 Sep 29.


We introduce functional MRI methods for estimating the neuronal population receptive field (pRF). These methods build on conventional visual field mapping that measures responses to ring and wedge patterns shown at a series of visual field locations and estimates the single position in the visual field that produces the largest response. The new method computes a model of the population receptive field from responses to a wide range of stimuli and estimates the visual field map as well as other neuronal population properties, such as receptive field size and laterality. The visual field maps obtained with the pRF method are more accurate than those obtained using conventional visual field mapping, and we trace with high precision the visual field maps to the center of the foveal representation. We report quantitative estimates of pRF size in medial, lateral and ventral occipital regions of human visual cortex. Also, we quantify the amount of input from ipsi- and contralateral visual fields. The human pRF size estimates in V1-V3 agree well with electrophysiological receptive field measurements at a range of eccentricities in corresponding locations within monkey and human visual field maps. The pRF method is non-invasive and can be applied to a wide range of conditions when it is useful to link fMRI signals in the visual pathways to neuronal receptive fields.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology