1. Neuroscience
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Magnetic Resonance: Mapping the visual world to the human brain

  1. Betina Ip
  2. Holly Bridge  Is a corresponding author
  1. Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
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Cite this article as: eLife 2021;10:e75171 doi: 10.7554/eLife.75171
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Mapping visual space using invasive and non-invasive methods.

(A) In experiments studying how neurons respond to visual stimuli, visual space is mapped using a flickering stimulus (black and white bar) that moves repeatedly across a screen in different directions, while the observer looks at the dot in the centre of the screen (blue). As the bar moves through the red circle, some neurons in the visual brain will become active. The red circle represents the ‘receptive field’ of those neurons. The entire visual space is covered with the receptive fields of different neurons. (B) In the human brain (top), non-invasive brain imaging is used to study the responses of millions of neurons to visual space by measuring changes in blood flow using fMRI (brain image with colours). In the macaque monkey (bottom), it is possible to directly record neuronal activity during visual stimulation using electrodes (measuring action potentials and local field potentials; right). Since non-invasive imaging and direct neural recordings differ both in spatial scale (scale bar at the bottom) and in the origin of the signal (fMRI measures blood flow and oxygen level as a proxy for increased or decreased activity, while electrodes directly measure the electrical activity of neurons), it is challenging to make comparisons between species and determine the validity of the non-invasive human data.

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