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A functional and perceptual signature of the second visual area in primates

Nature Neuroscience volume 16, pages 974981 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

There is no generally accepted account of the function of the second visual cortical area (V2), partly because no simple response properties robustly distinguish V2 neurons from those in primary visual cortex (V1). We constructed synthetic stimuli replicating the higher-order statistical dependencies found in natural texture images and used them to stimulate macaque V1 and V2 neurons. Most V2 cells responded more vigorously to these textures than to control stimuli lacking naturalistic structure; V1 cells did not. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurements in humans revealed differences between V1 and V2 that paralleled the neuronal measurements. The ability of human observers to detect naturalistic structure in different types of texture was well predicted by the strength of neuronal and fMRI responses in V2 but not in V1. Together, these results reveal a particular functional role for V2 in the representation of natural image structure.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to G. Boynton for discussions, to M. Landy for comments on the manuscript, to M. Brotzmang for help programming the Mechanical Turk experiments and to members of the Movshon laboratory for help with physiological experiments. This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grant EY04440, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the New York University Center for Brain Imaging and US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to J.F. and C.M.Z.

Author information

Author notes

    • Jeremy Freeman
    •  & Corey M Ziemba

    These authors contributed equally to this work

    • Eero P Simoncelli
    •  & J Anthony Movshon

    These authors jointly directed this work

    • Jeremy Freeman

    Present address: Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia, USA.

Affiliations

  1. Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York, USA

    • Jeremy Freeman
    • , Corey M Ziemba
    • , David J Heeger
    • , Eero P Simoncelli
    •  & J Anthony Movshon
  2. Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York, USA

    • David J Heeger
    • , Eero P Simoncelli
    •  & J Anthony Movshon
  3. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University, New York, New York, USA

    • Eero P Simoncelli
  4. Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, New York, USA

    • Eero P Simoncelli

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Contributions

J.F. and C.M.Z. performed the experiments and analysis. All authors designed the experiments, interpreted the results and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeremy Freeman.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3402

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