, Volume 110, Issue 2, pp 279-288

Functional mapping of color processing by magnetic resonance imaging of responses to selective P- and M-pathway stimulation

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Magnetic resonance imaging sensitized to activity-related changes in cerebral blood oxygenation was performed to map responses to selective stimulation of the parvo- and magnocellular visual pathways in calcarine and adjacent ventral occipital cortex of human subjects. In a repetitive stimulation protocol isoluminant chromatic or isochromatic luminance modulation was alternated with steady light of the same mean chromaticity and luminance as a reference condition. While no significant effects were observed for diffuse luminance modulation, two consistent cortical foci responded to isoluminant chromatic stimulation. A strong response was obtained in calcarine cortex at both 2 and 10 Hz, and even for selective S-cone stimulation. A second weaker colorsensitive response was seen bilaterally in the collateral sulcus. Thus, the data not only confirm color-sensitive activation in the collateral sulcus elicited in previous studies by selective cognitive tasks, but additionally demonstrate color-sensitive activation in primary visual cortex. With stimuli defined according to electrophysiological response properties of early visual processing stages, this study complements phenomenological or cognitive approaches in functional mapping of the human visual system.