August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Neural correlates of perceptual filling-in: fMRI evidence in the foveal projection zone of patients with central scotoma
Author Affiliations
  • Mark W. Greenlee
    Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg
  • Stuart Anstis
    Department of Psychology, University of California at San Diego
  • Katharina Rosengarth
    Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg
  • Markus Goldhacker
    Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg
  • Sabine Brandl-Rühle
    Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg\nUniversitätsaugenklinik, University of Regensburg
  • Tina Plank
    Experimental Psychology, University of Regensburg
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 1303. doi:
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      Mark W. Greenlee, Stuart Anstis, Katharina Rosengarth, Markus Goldhacker, Sabine Brandl-Rühle, Tina Plank; Neural correlates of perceptual filling-in: fMRI evidence in the foveal projection zone of patients with central scotoma. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1303.

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

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Patients with juvenile retinal dystrophy often report that they are unaware of their central scotoma, suggesting the presence of perceptual filling-in. We used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to determine possible neural correlates of perceptual filling-in in patients with retinal distrophy and clinically established central scotoma in both eyes. The data of 5 patients (Stargardt disease, cone-rod dystrophy; mean age 45 yrs; scotoma diameter 10-20°) and of 5 normally sighted controls were analyzed. Fixation behaviour and perimetry were measured with a Nidek microperimeter. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed using a Siemens 3T Allegra scanner. We stimulated the central visual field (30 deg) with a vertically oriented, low spatial frequency (1 c/deg) high-contrast sinewave grating that was either a) continuous, or b) was interrupted by a central grey disk. The disk was either slightly larger than the scotoma (detectable on 75% of trials) or slightly smaller (detectable on 25% of trials). To control for attention, an eccentric fixation task was performed during scanning. Data were analyzed using SPM8 (GLM with ROI analysis to obtain percent signal change for foveal projection zone). Results: for all patients, the BOLD signal in the foveal projection area was significantly higher for the small disk (i.e., condition leading to complete filling-in) than for the large disk (i.e., no filling-in). This effect was absent in the control subjects. Our findings support the existence of an active neural process that leads to filling-in in patients with central visual field scotomata.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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