Combination of subcortical color channels in human visual cortex

Erin Goddard, Damien J. Mannion, J. Scott McDonald, Samuel G. Solomon, Colin W. G. Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Mechanisms of color vision in cortex have not been as well characterized as those in sub-cortical areas, particularly in humans. We used fMRI in conjunction with univariate and multivariate (pattern) analysis to test for the initial transformation of sub-cortical inputs by human visual cortex. Subjects viewed each of two patterns modulating in color between orange-cyan or lime-magenta. We tested for higher order cortical representations of color capable of discriminating these stimuli, which were designed so that they could not be distinguished by the postulated L–M and S–(L + M) sub-cortical opponent channels. We found differences both in the average response and in the pattern of activity evoked by these two types of stimuli, across a range of early visual areas. This result implies that sub-cortical chromatic channels are recombined early in cortical processing to form novel representations of color. Our results also suggest a cortical bias for lime-magenta over orange-cyan stimuli, when they are matched for cone contrast and the response they would elicit in the L–M and S–(L + M) opponent channels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-1-25-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • color perception
  • fMRI
  • multivariate pattern classifiers
  • occipital cortex
  • vision

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