Intersession reliability of population receptive field estimates

Neuroimage. 2016 Dec:143:293-303. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 9.


Population receptive field (pRF) analysis is a popular method to infer spatial selectivity of voxels in visual cortex. However, it remains largely untested how stable pRF estimates are over time. Here we measured the intersession reliability of pRF parameter estimates for the central visual field and near periphery, using a combined wedge and ring stimulus containing natural images. Sixteen healthy human participants completed two scanning sessions separated by 10-114 days. Individual participants showed very similar visual field maps for V1-V4 on both sessions. Intersession reliability for eccentricity and polar angle estimates was close to ceiling for most visual field maps (r>.8 for V1-3). PRF size and cortical magnification (CMF) estimates showed strong but lower overall intersession reliability (r≈.4-.6). Group level results for pRF size and CMF were highly similar between sessions. Additional control experiments confirmed that reliability does not depend on the carrier stimulus used and that reliability for pRF size and CMF is high for sessions acquired on the same day (r>.6). Our results demonstrate that pRF mapping is highly reliable across sessions.

Keywords: Functional MRI; Intersession reliability; Natural images; Population receptive fields; Retinotopic mapping.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Brain Mapping / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Visual Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Young Adult