Scene-Selectivity and Retinotopy in Medial Parietal Cortex

Front Hum Neurosci. 2016 Aug 18:10:412. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00412. eCollection 2016.


Functional imaging studies in human reliably identify a trio of scene-selective regions, one on each of the lateral [occipital place area (OPA)], ventral [parahippocampal place area (PPA)], and medial [retrosplenial complex (RSC)] cortical surfaces. Recently, we demonstrated differential retinotopic biases for the contralateral lower and upper visual fields within OPA and PPA, respectively. Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we combine detailed mapping of both population receptive fields (pRF) and category-selectivity, with independently acquired resting-state functional connectivity analyses, to examine scene and retinotopic processing within medial parietal cortex. We identified a medial scene-selective region, which was contained largely within the posterior and ventral bank of the parieto-occipital sulcus (POS). While this region is typically referred to as RSC, the spatial extent of our scene-selective region typically did not extend into retrosplenial cortex, and thus we adopt the term medial place area (MPA) to refer to this visually defined scene-selective region. Intriguingly MPA co-localized with a region identified solely on the basis of retinotopic sensitivity using pRF analyses. We found that MPA demonstrates a significant contralateral visual field bias, coupled with large pRF sizes. Unlike OPA and PPA, MPA did not show a consistent bias to a single visual quadrant. MPA also co-localized with a region identified by strong differential functional connectivity with PPA and the human face-selective fusiform face area (FFA), commensurate with its functional selectivity. Functional connectivity with OPA was much weaker than with PPA, and similar to that with face-selective occipital face area (OFA), suggesting a closer link with ventral than lateral cortex. Consistent with prior research, we also observed differential functional connectivity in medial parietal cortex for anterior over posterior PPA, as well as a region on the lateral surface, the caudal inferior parietal lobule (cIPL). However, the differential connectivity in medial parietal cortex was found principally anterior of MPA. We suggest that there is posterior-anterior gradient within medial parietal cortex, with posterior regions in the POS showing retinotopically based scene-selectivity and more anterior regions showing connectivity that may be more reflective of abstract, navigationally pertinent and possibly mnemonic representations.

Keywords: memory; population receptive fields; resting-state functional connectivity; retinotopy; scene-selectivity.