Stimulus vignetting and orientation selectivity in human visual cortex

Zvi N. Roth, David J. Heeger, Elisha P. Merriam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural selectivity to orientation is one of the simplest and most thoroughly-studied cortical sensory features. Here, we show that a large body of research that purported to measure orientation tuning may have in fact been inadvertently measuring sensitivity to second-order changes in luminance, a phenomenon we term ‘vignetting’. Using a computational model of neural responses in primary visual cortex (V1), we demonstrate the impact of vignetting on simulated V1 responses. We then used the model to generate a set of predictions, which we confirmed with functional MRI experiments in human observers. Our results demonstrate that stimulus vignetting can wholly determine the orientation selectivity of responses in visual cortex measured at a macroscopic scale, and suggest a reinterpretation of a well-established literature on orientation processing in visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere37241
StatePublished - Aug 14 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Stimulus vignetting and orientation selectivity in human visual cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this