Functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence for binocular interactions in human visual cortex
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Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we explored the binocular interactions occurring when subjects viewed dichoptically presented checkerboard stimuli. A flickering radial checkerboard was presented to each eye of the subject, while T2*-weighted images were acquired over the visual cortex with gradient-echo, echoplanar sequences. We compared responses in striate and extrastriate visual cortex under four conditions: both eyes were stimulated at the same time (binocular condition), each eye was stimulated in alternation (monocular condition) or first the one eye then the other eye was stimulated (left eye first - right eye trailing, or vice versa). The results indicate that only the striate area, in and near the calcarine fissure, shows significant differences for these stimulation conditions. These differences are not evident in more remote extrastriate or associational visual areas, although the BOLD response in the stimulation-rest comparison was robust. These results suggest that the effect could be related to inhibitory interactions across ocular dominance columns in striate visual cortex.
KeywordsVisual cortex Ocular dominance columns Binocular interactions fMRI BOLD effect Dichoptic stimulation
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