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Population receptive field tuning properties of visual cortex during childhood

Dekker, T; Schwarzkopf, S; De Haas, B; Nardini, M; Sereno, M; (2019) Population receptive field tuning properties of visual cortex during childhood. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.01.001. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Visuospatial abilities such as contrast sensitivity and Vernier acuity improve until late in childhood, but the neural mechanisms supporting these changes are poorly understood. We tested to which extent this development might reflect improved spatial sensitivity of neuronal populations in visual cortex. To do this, we measured BOLD-responses in areas V1-V4 and V3a, whilst 6- to 12-year-old children and adults watched large-field wedge and ring stimuli in the MRI scanner, and then fitted population receptive field (pRF) tuning functions to these data (Dumoulin and Wandell, 2008). Cortical magnification and pRF tuning width changed with eccentricity at all ages, as expected. However, there were no significant age differences in pRF size, shape, cortical magnification, or map consistency in any visual region. These findings thus strongly suggest that spatial vision in late childhood is not substantially limited by the spatial tuning of neuronal populations in early visual cortex. Instead, improvements in performance may reflect more efficient read-out of spatial information in early visual regions by higher-level processing stages, or prolonged tuning to more complex visual properties such as orientation. Importantly, this in-depth characterisation of the pRF tuning profiles across childhood, paves the way for in-vivo-testing of atypical visual cortex development and plasticity.

Type: Article
Title: Population receptive field tuning properties of visual cortex during childhood
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.01.001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2019.01.001
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: pRF mapping, vision, retinotopy, fMRI, childhood
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066261
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