Topographic maps in human frontal and parietal cortex

Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 Nov;13(11):488-95. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2009.08.005. Epub 2009 Sep 14.


Retinotopic mapping of functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) responses evoked by visual stimuli has resulted in the identification of many areas in human visual cortex and a description of the organization of the visual field representation in each of these areas. These methods have recently been employed in conjunction with tasks that involve higher-order cognitive processes such as spatial attention, working memory, and planning and execution of saccadic eye movements. This approach has led to the discovery of multiple areas in human parietal and frontal areas, each containing a topographic map of visual space. In this review, we summarize the anatomical locations, visual field organization, and functional specialization of these new parietal and frontal topographic cortical areas. The study of higher-order topographic cortex promises to yield unprecedented insights into the neural mechanisms of cognitive processes and, in conjunction with parallel studies in non-human primates, into the evolution of cognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Motion
  • Movement / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology