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The surface area of human V1 predicts the subjective experience of object size

Abstract

The surface area of human primary visual cortex (V1) varies substantially between individuals for unknown reasons. We found that this variability was strongly and negatively correlated with the magnitude of two common visual illusions, where two physically identical objects appear different in size as a result of their context. Because such illusions dissociate conscious perception from physical stimulation, our findings indicate that the surface area of V1 predicts variability in conscious experience.

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Figure 1: Size illusions and variability in V1 surface area.
Figure 2: Surface area of V1 predicts illusion strength.

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Acknowledgements

We thank F. Sengpiel for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

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Authors

Contributions

D.S.S. conducted the functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment and analyzed the data. C.S. conducted the behavioral experiment. D.S.S., C.S. and G.R. wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to D Samuel Schwarzkopf.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figures 1–3, Table 1 and Results (PDF 741 kb)

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Schwarzkopf, D., Song, C. & Rees, G. The surface area of human V1 predicts the subjective experience of object size. Nat Neurosci 14, 28–30 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2706

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