Sunday, February 10, 2008

New images from human visual cortex

R.B.h. Tootell et al. (1996). New images from human visual cortex. Trends in Neuroscience, Vol. 19, No. 11, 481-489.

This article takes aim at broadly reviewing animal and human studies of the human visual cortex. There has been a long and successful tradition of studying the visual cortex in our Old World monkey relatives, the macaques. Although there are significant differences, there are also striking similarities and key learnings that can be generalized from examination of macaque cortex. The article discusses the attempts to converge the research in these two different disciplines of human and animal studies on the basis of functional properties, retinotopy, histology, and connectivity. Among others, it covers the principles of disproportionate cortical mapping, cortical flattening (or unfolding) techniques common to animal studies, and the 'where' vs. 'what' pathways of the visual system. Although these two distinct pathways are well understood in the monkey, they are defined with more uncertainty in the human. The article discusses motion processing and spatial organization in the dorsal 'where' pathway, and color processing, form recognition, and object identification in the ventral 'what' pathway.

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