1. Neuroscience
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Visual field map clusters in human frontoparietal cortex

  1. Wayne E Mackey
  2. Jonathan Winawer
  3. Clayton E Curtis  Is a corresponding author
  1. New York University, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 43
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Cite this article as: eLife 2017;6:e22974 doi: 10.7554/eLife.22974


The visual neurosciences have made enormous progress in recent decades, in part because of the ability to drive visual areas by their sensory inputs, allowing researchers to reliably define visual areas across individuals and across species. Similar strategies for parcellating higher-order cortex have proven elusive. Here, using a novel experimental task and nonlinear population receptive field modeling we map and characterize the topographic organization of several regions in human frontoparietal cortex. We discover representations of both polar angle and eccentricity that are organized into clusters, similar to visual cortex, where multiple gradients of polar angle of the contralateral visual field share a confluent fovea. This is striking because neural activity in frontoparietal cortex is believed to reflect higher-order cognitive functions rather than external sensory processing. Perhaps the spatial topography in frontoparietal cortex parallels the retinotopic organization of sensory cortex to enable an efficient interface between perception and higher-order cognitive processes. Critically, these visual maps constitute well-defined anatomical units that future study of frontoparietal cortex can reliably target.

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Author details

  1. Wayne E Mackey

    Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1577-9235
  2. Jonathan Winawer

    Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7475-5586
  3. Clayton E Curtis

    Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0702-1499


National Institutes of Health (R01 EY016407)

  • Clayton E Curtis

National Institutes of Health (R00 EY022116)

  • Jonathan Winawer

National Science Foundation (Graduate Student Fellowship)

  • Wayne E Mackey

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Human subjects: All subjects gave written informed consent before participating. All procedures were approved by the human subjects Institutional Review Board at New York University.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jack L Gallant, University of California, Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: November 4, 2016
  2. Accepted: June 17, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: June 19, 2017 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 29, 2017 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record updated: July 5, 2017 (version 3)


© 2017, Mackey et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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