August 2008
Volume 8, Issue 10
Research Article  |   August 2008
Neuroimaging in vision science
Author Affiliations
Journal of Vision August 2008, Vol.8, i. doi:
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      Andy Smith, David Heeger, Geoff Boynton, Anthony Norcia; Neuroimaging in vision science. Journal of Vision 2008;8(10):i.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The past decade has seen rapid growth in the use of imaging techniques to study the human brain. In the case of vision science, the firm foundation provided by several decades of detailed psychophysics and neurophysiology has permitted rapid progress in defining the various visual areas of the human brain, establishing the nature of the visual information processing that occurs within them and examining non-retinal influences such as attention, mental imagery and input from the other sense systems. 
The imaging community, and particularly the fast-growing fMRI community, is characterized by a high degree of independence from the mainstream neuroscience community. The emphasis in the imaging community has been on developing methods of acquisition and analysis. Thriving new journals and conferences have sprung up around neuroimaging, and methodology provides their core business. However, as the imaging approach matures and stabilizes, and its strengths and weaknesses become clearer, it is important that imaging applications addressing neuroscientific questions be integrated with research that uses alternative methods to address similar questions. The route to integration is the sharing of ideas and results among practitioners of different approaches. Key to sharing ideas and results is the existence of conferences and journals that embrace wide-ranging methodologies within a restricted sub-discipline of neuroscience, in our case vision science. There has been a gratifying surge in imaging presentations at recent annual meetings and a consequent increase in awareness of imaging work among visual psychophysicists and computational theorists. The benefits of interaction run in both directions: vision researchers using imaging techniques may have more to gain from mixing with non-imaging vision researchers than with non-vision imagers. 
What goes for conferences also goes for journals. It is important that those conducting imaging studies of vision publish their work where it will be read by vision scientists. It is less important that their work is accessible to fellow imagers who work on language, emotion and consciousness. We therefore believe that vision journals are a more natural home than imaging journals for imaging work on vision. The purpose of this special issue is to collect together a number of high-quality imaging studies of visual processing and present them in a journal used by vision researchers of varied methodological persuasions. We hope that the collection serves a useful scientific purpose in itself, but we also hope that it may stimulate an increase in the number of imaging submissions to the Journal of Vision in the future. 
Commercial relationships: none. 
Corresponding author: Andrew T. Smith. 
Address: Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 OEX UK. 

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