Subdivisions of Visual Cortex

The organization of visual areas delineated in nonhuman primates provides a working hypothesis about the organization of visual cortex in humans. Figure 6 summarizes the topography of visual areas of several simian and prosimian species. The different visual areas identified in this figure have typically been defined by a convergence of several lines of evidence, including anatomical connectivity, neurophysiology, and lesion-related characteristics. Not all areas are equally well-defined, and some (possibly many) have significant internal heterogeneity. The degree to which these schemes apply to the human is not well-established. A few visual areas such as V1, V2, and MT are almost certainly homologous, whereas areas such as V3 (DM)-VP, V3A, and V4 are likely to have homologs but their identity is not yet established. For some areas, there may be no homolog. Accounts of visual area topography in humans have been heavily influenced by the macaque monkey scheme shown in Figs. 6F and 6G, though it is important to note that several alternative schemes for the macaque have been published. Due to such uncertainties, identifying homologies may not necessarily provide a definitive characterization of human visual areas. In the future, our understanding of the relationships among human and animal visual areas is likely to evolve as more data become available.

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