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J Vis. 2013 Jun 20;13(7):13. doi: 10.1167/13.7.13.

Minimizing biases in estimating the reorganization of human visual areas with BOLD retinotopic mapping.

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Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


There is substantial interest in using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) retinotopic mapping techniques to examine reorganization of the occipital cortex after vision loss in humans and nonhuman primates. However, previous reports suggest that standard phase encoding and the more recent population Receptive Field (pRF) techniques give biased estimates of retinotopic maps near the boundaries of retinal or cortical scotomas. Here we examine the sources of this bias and show how it can be minimized with a simple modification of the pRF method. In normally sighted subjects, we measured fMRI responses to a stimulus simulating a foveal scotoma; we found that unbiased retinotopic map estimates can be obtained in early visual areas, as long as the pRF fitting algorithm takes the scotoma into account and a randomized "multifocal" stimulus sequence is used.


cortical reorganization; fMRI; partial visual loss; retinotopic mapping; scotoma

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