Not one extrastriate body area: using anatomical landmarks, hMT+, and visual field maps to parcellate limb-selective activations in human lateral occipitotemporal cortex

Neuroimage. 2011 Jun 15;56(4):2183-99. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.03.041. Epub 2011 Mar 22.


The prevailing view of human lateral occipitotemporal cortex (LOTC) organization suggests a single area selective for images of the human body (extrastriate body area, EBA) that highly overlaps with the human motion-selective complex (hMT+). Using functional magnetic resonance imaging with higher resolution (1.5mm voxels) than past studies (3-4mm voxels), we examined the fine-scale spatial organization of these activations relative to each other, as well as to visual field maps in LOTC. Rather than one contiguous EBA highly overlapping hMT+, results indicate three limb-selective activations organized in a crescent surrounding hMT+: (1) an activation posterior to hMT+ on the lateral occipital sulcus/middle occipital gyrus (LOS/MOG) overlapping the lower vertical meridian shared between visual field maps LO-2 and TO-1, (2) an activation anterior to hMT+ on the middle temporal gyrus (MTG) consistently overlapping the lower vertical meridian of TO-2 and extending outside presently defined visual field maps, and (3) an activation inferior to hMT+ on the inferotemporal gyrus (ITG) overlapping the parafoveal representation of the TO cluster. This crescent organization of limb-selective activations surrounding hMT+ is reproducible over a span of three years and is consistent across different image types used for localization. Further, these regions exhibit differential position properties: preference for contralateral image presentation decreases and preference for foveal presentation increases from the limb-selective LOS to the MTG. Finally, the relationship between limb-selective activations and visual field maps extends to the dorsal stream where a posterior IPS activation overlaps V7. Overall, our measurements demonstrate a series of LOTC limb-selective activations that 1) have separate anatomical and functional boundaries, 2) overlap distinct visual field maps, and 3) illustrate differential position properties. These findings indicate that category selectivity alone is an insufficient organization principle for defining brain areas. Instead, multiple properties are necessary in order to parcellate and understand the functional organization of high-level visual cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Extremities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Fields
  • Young Adult