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The Noninvasive Dissection of the Human Visual Cortex: Using fMRI and TMS to Study the Organization of the Visual Brain

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JournalNEUROSCIENTIST
DatePublished - Oct 2009
Issue number5
Volume15
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)489-506
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The development of brain imaging techniques, such as fMRI, has given modern neuroscientiss unparalleled access to the inner workings of the living human brain. Visual processing in particular has proven to be particularly, amenable to study with fMRI. Studies using this technique have revealed the existence of multiple representations of visual space with differing functional roles across many cortical locations. Yet, although fMRI provides an excellent means by which we can localize and map different areas across the visual brain, it is less well suited to providing information as to whether activation within a particular cortical region is directly related to perception or behavior. These kinds of causal links can be made, however, when fMRI is combined with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a noninvasive technique that can bring about localized, transient disruption of cortical function and can induce functional impairments in the performance of specific tasks. When guided by the detailed localizing and mapping capabilities of fMRI, TMS can be Used as a means by which the functional roles of different visual areas can be investigated. This review highlights recent insights that the techniques of fMRI and TMS have given us with regard to the function and contributions of the many different visual areas to human visual perception.

    Research areas

  • visual areas, fMRI, TMS, retinotopic mapping, cortical function, TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION, POSTERIOR PARIETAL CORTEX, POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY, VENTRAL OCCIPITAL CORTEX, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE, FUNCTIONAL-ANALYSIS, PROCESSING STREAMS, EYE FIELDS, HUMAN MT, AREAS

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