Identification of the ventral occipital visual field maps in the human brain

Jonathan Winawer, Nathan Witthoft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The location and topography of the first three visual field maps in the human brain, V1-V3, are well agreed upon and routinely measured across most laboratories. The position of 4 th visual field map, 'hV4', is identified with less consistency in the neuroimaging literature. Using magnetic resonance imaging data, we describe landmarks to help identify the position and borders of 'hV4'. The data consist of anatomical images, visualized as cortical meshes to highlight the sulcal and gyral patterns, and functional data obtained from retinotopic mapping experiments, visualized as eccentricity and angle maps on the cortical surface. Several features of the functional and anatomical data can be found across nearly all subjects and are helpful for identifying the location and extent of the hV4 map. The medial border of hV4 is shared with the posterior, ventral portion of V3, and is marked by a retinotopic representation of the upper vertical meridian. The anterior border of hV4 is shared with the VO-1 map, and falls on a retinotopic representation of the peripheral visual field, usually coincident with the posterior transverse collateral sulcus. The ventro-lateral edge of the map typically falls on the inferior occipital gyrus, where functional MRI artifacts often obscure the retinotopic data. Finally, we demonstrate the continuity of retinotopic parameters between hV4 and its neighbors; hV4 and V3v contain iso-eccentricity lines in register, whereas hV4 and VO-1 contain iso-polar angle lines in register. Together, the multiple constraints allow for a consistent identification of the hV4 map across most human subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1526
StatePublished - 2017


  • Collateral sulcus
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Fusiform gyrus
  • HV4
  • Population receptive field
  • Retinotopic map
  • Visual cortex
  • Visual field map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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