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J Vis. 2008 Oct 22;8(10):8.1-12. doi: 10.1167/8.10.8.

Comparison of contrast-response functions from multifocal visual-evoked potentials (mfVEPs) and functional MRI responses.

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Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Contrast response functions (CRFs) from multifocal visual-evoked potential (mfVEP) and BOLD fMRI responses were obtained using the same stimuli to test the hypothesis of a linear relationship between the mfVEP and BOLD fMRI responses. Monocular mfVEP and BOLD fMRI responses were obtained using an 8 degrees in diameter, dartboard pattern stimulus with reversing checkerboards. Six contrast conditions (4%, 8%, 16%, 32%, 64%, and 90%) were run. The mfVEP, largely generated in V1, was compared to the BOLD fMRI signal from V1 and extrastriate cortex. Retinotopic maps of each subject were acquired and used to localize the V1 area. For all subjects, the CRFs for the mfVEPs and BOLD fMRI responses showed good agreement, suggesting that they both share the same functional relationship with underlying neural activity. In particular, this result is consistent with the assumption that the relationship between the BOLD response and underlying neural activity is linear, although the particular linear model proposed by D. J. Heeger, A. C. Huk, W. S. Geisler, and D. G. Albrecht (2000) does not fit the results.

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