Coding and binding of color and form in visual cortex

Kiley Seymour, Colin W G Clifford, Nikos K. Logothetis, Andreas Bartels*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)


The processing of color and form is largely segregated within the visual brain. But there is also evidence to suggest that these features are coded in combination early in visual processing. Here, we combined high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) together with multivariate pattern classification to examine where in the visual cortex specific color form "conjunctions" are represented. Human subjects viewed visual displays containing colored spiral patterns. The spiral patterns could be red or green, and oriented either clockwise or counterclockwise, leading to 4 possible stimulus configurations. Two additional displays combined 2 of the above single color-form pairings, leading to double conjunctions. We applied linear classifiers to voxel activation patterns obtained while subjects viewed such displays. Our findings not only show that color and form information is coded across retinotopically defined visual areas, but also that the 2 double-conjunction stimuli can be distinguished. The voxels most informative about conjunctions were distinct from those most informative about color or form alone. Our results indicate that conjunctions of form and color may be coded by separate functional units as early as primary visual cortex. The results of this study have implications for theories concerning the segregation and binding of color and form information. The Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1946-1954
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

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