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Andrew E. Welchman; The functional roles of visual cortex in representing 3D shape. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):5. doi: 10.1167/10.7.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Estimating the depth structure of the environment is a principal function of the visual system, enabling many key computations, such as segmentation, object recognition, material perception and the guidance of movements. The brain exploits a range of depth cues to estimate depth, combining information from shading and shadows to linear perspective, motion and binocular disparity. Despite the importance of this process, we still know relatively little about the functional roles of different cortical areas in processing depth signals in the human brain. Here I will review recent human fMRI work that combines established psychophysical methods, high resolution imaging and advanced analysis methods to address this question. In particular, I will describe fMRI paradigms that integrate psychophysical tasks in order to look for a correspondence between changes in behavioural performance and fMRI activity. Further, I will review information-based fMRI analysis methods that seek to investigate different types of depth representation in parts of visual cortex. This work suggests a key role for a confined ensemble of dorsal visual areas in the processing information relevant to judgments of 3D shape.
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