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Cortical Magnification in Human Visual Cortex Parallels Task Performance around the Visual Field

Publication year 2021
Published in eLife
Authors A. Barbot, Noah C Benson, Eline R Kupers, Marisa Carrasco, Jonathan Winawer,
The order of authors may deviate from the original publication due to temporary technical issues.

Human vision has striking radial asymmetries, with performance on many tasks varying sharply with stimulus polar angle. Performance is generally better on the horizontal than vertical meridian, and on the lower than upper vertical meridian, and these asymmetries decrease gradually with deviation from the vertical meridian. Here we report cortical magnification at a fine angular resolution around the visual field. This precision enables comparisons between cortical magnification and behavior, between cortical magnification and retinal cell densities, and between cortical magnification in twin pairs. We show that cortical magnification in human primary visual cortex, measured in 163 subjects, varies substantially around the visual field, with a pattern similar to behavior. These radial asymmetries in cortex are larger than those found in the retina, and they are correlated between monozygotic twin pairs. These findings indicate a tight link between cortical topography and behavior, and suggest that visual field asymmetries are partly heritable.

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