How visual cortical organization is altered by ophthalmologic and neurologic disorders

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Receptive fields are a core property of cortical organization. Modern neuroimaging allows routine access to visual population receptive fields (pRFs), enabling investigations of clinical disorders. Yet how the underlying neural circuitry operates is controversial. The controversy surrounds observations that measurements of pRFs can change in healthy adults as well as in patients with a range of ophthalmological and neurological disorders. The debate relates to the balance between plasticity and stability of the underlying neural circuitry. We propose that to move the debate forward, the field needs to define the implied mechanism. First, we review the pRF changes in both healthy subjects and those with clinical disorders. Then, we propose a computational model that describes how pRFs can change in healthy humans. We assert that we can correctly interpret the pRF changes in clinical disorders only if we establish the capabilities and limitations of pRF dynamics in healthy humans with mechanistic models that provide quantitative predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-379
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Vision Science
Early online date11 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


This work has supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 641805 (S.D.), Ammodo KNAW Award (S.D.), NWO-VICI grant 016.Vici.185.050 (S.D.), NWO-CAS grant 012.200.012 (T.K.), and a VU-UvA ABMP grant (T.K.). The Spinoza Centre is a joint initiative of the University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center, VU University, VU University Medical Center, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.

FundersFunder number
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program
H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions641805


    • clinical neuroscience
    • cognitive neuroscience
    • cortical organization
    • plasticity
    • population receptive field
    • stability


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