Prior studies suggest the presence of a color-selective area in the inferior occipital-temporal region of human visual cortex. It has been proposed that this human area is homologous to macaque area V4, which is arguably color selective, but this has never been tested directly. To test this model, we compared the location of the human color-selective region to the retinotopic area boundaries in the same subjects, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), cortical flattening and retinotopic mapping techniques. The human color-selective region did not match the location of area V4 (neither its dorsal nor ventral subdivisions), as extrapolated from macaque maps. Instead this region coincides with a new retinotopic area that we call 'V8', which includes a distinct representation of the fovea and both upper and lower visual fields. We also tested the response to stimuli that produce color afterimages and found that these stimuli, like real colors, caused preferential activation of V8 but not V4.
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This work was supported by grants from the Human Frontiers Science Foundation and NEI EY07980 to R.B.H.T., NEI EY09258 to P.C. and Swiss Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique to N.H. We thank Terry Campbell and Mary Foley for scanning and participation in these experiments, Robert Savoy, Ken Kwong, Bruce Fischl and Kevin Hall for advice, Tommy Vaughan for coil design and manufacture and Martin Sereno for modifying pilot stimuli. Wim Vanduffel, Ekkehardt Kustermann and Irene Tracy also helped in preliminary versions of this experiment.
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Hadjikhani, N., Liu, A., Dale, A. et al. Retinotopy and color sensitivity in human visual cortical area V8. Nat Neurosci 1, 235–241 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/681
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