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Neuron. 2006 Sep 7;51(5):661-70.

The radial bias: a different slant on visual orientation sensitivity in human and nonhuman primates.

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Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


It is generally assumed that sensitivity to different stimulus orientations is mapped in a globally equivalent fashion across primate visual cortex, at a spatial scale larger than that of orientation columns. However, some evidence predicts instead that radial orientations should produce higher activity than other orientations, throughout visual cortex. Here, this radial orientation bias was robustly confirmed using (1) human psychophysics, plus fMRI in (2) humans and (3) behaving monkeys. In visual cortex, fMRI activity was at least 20% higher in the retinotopic representations of polar angle which corresponded to the radial stimulus orientations (relative to tangential). In a global demonstration of this, we activated complementary retinotopic quadrants of visual cortex by simply changing stimulus orientation, without changing stimulus location in the visual field. This evidence reveals a neural link between orientation sensitivity and the cortical retinotopy, which have previously been considered independent.

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