V4 lesions in macaques affect both single- and multiple-viewpoint shape discriminations

Vis Neurosci. 1998 Mar-Apr;15(2):359-67. doi: 10.1017/s0952523898152112.


The role of cortical area V4 in complex shape discriminations was studied by testing the effects of V4 lesions in macaques on the ability to visually discriminate between images of three-dimensional (3D) objects from different viewpoints. Stimuli were presented in pairs in the lower left or lower right visual field quadrants about 4 deg from the fovea, and the monkeys judged on each trial whether the two views were of the same or of different objects. Object similarity was varied to determine a threshold shape difference. V4 lesions caused profound, retinotopic, and apparently permanent disruptions of discrimination, regardless of whether the images represented single or multiple viewpoints. In V4 lesioned portions of the visual field, monkeys could discriminate objects only when they differed much more grossly in shape than was true in control locations. These effects of the lesion were virtually identical for discriminations that had been learned before lesions were placed and for those learned afterwards. As in previous studies, V4 lesions elevated contrast thresholds by approximately a factor of two, but control observations showed that this was not the basis of the disruption of shape discrimination. Manipulation of cues to shape showed that in control locations, monkeys maintained excellent shape discrimination despite a variety of stimulus alterations, whereas in V4 lesioned areas their performance was easily disrupted. This finding suggests that V4 may support visual shape discriminations by facilitating the use of multiple visual cues. However, the fact that single-viewpoint and multiple-viewpoint discriminations were similarly affected indicates that the disruption was not specific to 3D shape discrimination, but may apply to a variety of subtle discriminations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Cues
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Female
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / pathology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology