Perception matches selectivity in the human anterior color center

Curr Biol. 2008 Feb 12;18(3):216-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.01.013.


Human ventral cortex contains at least two visual areas selective for color [1]: a posterior center in the lingual gyrus labeled V4 [2-4], V8 [5], or VO-1 [6] and an anterior center in the medial fusiform that has been labeled V4alpha[3, 4]. We examined the properties of the anterior color center using electrical recording and electrical stimulation in a subject with an electrode implanted over the anterior color center, as determined with BOLD fMRI in the same subject. Presentation of visual stimuli evoked local field potentials from the electrode. Consistent with fMRI, the potentials were larger for chromatic than achromatic stimuli. The potentials differed depending on stimulus color, with blue-purple colors evoking the largest response. The spatial receptive field of the electrode was central/parafoveal with a contralateral bias. In the absence of a visual stimulus, electrical stimulation of the electrode produced an artificial visual percept of a blue-purple color near the center of gaze. These results provide direct evidence of a tight link between selectivity and perception in ventral temporal cortex. Electrical stimulation of the anterior color center is sufficient to produce the conscious percept of a color whose identity is determined by the selectivity of the stimulated neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Color Perception / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation