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Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1993 Sep-Oct;88(5):343-55.

Electrophysiological studies of color processing in human visual cortex.

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  • 1Neuropsychology Laboratory, Veterans Administration Medical Center, West Haven, CT 06516.


Electrophysiological recordings from human visual cortex were carried out with electrodes chronically implanted in 13 patients for localization of an epileptogenic focus. Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) elicited by red or blue checkerboard stimuli were recorded using an adaptation stimulus-test stimulus design in which color was the most salient feature. A "significant color effect," defined as a statistically significant effect of the adaptation stimulus on test stimulus VEPs evoked by the same or a different color, was determined for various cortical regions: medial lingual gyrus, 20%; lateral lingual gyrus, 38%; posterior fusiform gyrus, 50%; anterior fusiform gyrus, 0%; inferior temporal gyrus, 5%; occipital pole, 30%; lateral surface of non-visual cortex, 6%; inferior parietal and temporal cortex, 5%. The time course of the significant color effects suggests that wave length-selective neuronal activity occurs initially at the first stage of cortical processing in the medial lingual gyrus, followed by progressively later activation of the lateral lingual gyrus, the posterior fusiform gyrus, and the inferior temporal gyrus. In two patients, stimulation of the lateral lingual and fusiform gyri elicited color sensations in the contralateral half-field, whereas stimulation of the medial lingual and cuneate gyri evoked retinotopically appropriate quadrantic "shimmering" devoid of color. These results suggest that a region of inferior occipital cortex, primarily the posterior portion of the fusiform gyrus, is involved in color perception and may be homologous with area V4 in monkeys. There is also a region of dorsolateral surface cortex which exhibits a fairly high percentage of significant color effects and when stimulated may evoke sensations of color. This region may be the same as the dorsolateral region thought to be involved in selective attention to color.

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