Feedback of visual object information to foveal retinotopic cortex

Mark A. Williams, Chris I. Baker, Hans P. Op De Beeck, Won Mok Shim, Sabin Dang, Christina Triantafyllou, Nancy Kanwisher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    116 Citations (Scopus)


    The mammalian visual system contains an extensive web of feedback connections projecting from higher cortical areas to lower areas, including primary visual cortex. Although multiple theories have been proposed, the role of these connections in perceptual processing is not understood. We found that the pattern of functional magnetic resonance imaging response in human foveal retinotopic cortex contained information about objects presented in the periphery, far away from the fovea, which has not been predicted by prior theories of feedback. This information was position invariant, correlated with perceptual discrimination accuracy and was found only in foveal, but not peripheral, retinotopic cortex. Our data cannot be explained by differential eye movements, activation from the fixation cross, or spillover activation from peripheral retinotopic cortex or from lateral occipital complex. Instead, our findings indicate that position-invariant object information from higher cortical areas is fed back to foveal retinotopic cortex, enhancing task performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1439-1445
    Number of pages7
    JournalNature Neuroscience
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

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