Toward a unified theory of visual area V4

Neuron. 2012 Apr 12;74(1):12-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.03.011.


Visual area V4 is a midtier cortical area in the ventral visual pathway. It is crucial for visual object recognition and has been a focus of many studies on visual attention. However, there is no unifying view of V4's role in visual processing. Neither is there an understanding of how its role in feature processing interfaces with its role in visual attention. This review captures our current knowledge of V4, largely derived from electrophysiological and imaging studies in the macaque monkey. Based on recent discovery of functionally specific domains in V4, we propose that the unifying function of V4 circuitry is to enable selective extraction of specific functional domain-based networks, whether it be by bottom-up specification of object features or by top-down attentionally driven selection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Macaca
  • Mental Processes
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*