Linear systems analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging in human V1

Geoffrey M. Boynton, Stephen A. Engel, Gary H. Glover, David J. Heeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The linear transform model of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) hypothesizes that fMRI responses are proportional to local average neural activity averaged over a period of time. This work reports results from three empirical tests that support this hypothesis. First, fMRI responses in human primary visual cortex (V1) depend separably on stimulus timing and stimulus contrast. Second, responses to long-duration stimuli can be predicted from responses to shorter duration stimuli. Third, the noise in the fMRI data is independent of stimulus contrast and temporal period. Although these tests can not prove the correctness of the linear transform model, they might have been used to reject the model. Because the linear transform model is consistent with our data, we proceeded to estimate the temporal fMRI impulse- response function and the underlying (presumably neural) contrast-response function of human V1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4207-4221
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1996


  • calcarine sulcus
  • contrast perception
  • functional MRI
  • hemodynamics
  • linear systems analysis
  • temporal impulse-response function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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