Integration of color, orientation, and size functional domains in the ventral pathway

Geoffrey M. Ghose, Daniel Y. Ts'O

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Functional specialization within the extrastriate areas of the ventral pathway associated with visual form analysis is poorly understood. Studies comparing the functional selectivities of neurons within the early visual areas have found that there are more similar than different between the areas. We simultaneously imaged visually evoked activation over regions of V2 and V4 and parametrically varied three visual attributes for which selectivity exists in both areas: color, orientation, and size. We found that color selective regions were observed in both areas and were of similar size and spatial distribution. However, two major areal distinctions were observed: V4 contained a greater number and diversity of color-specific regions than V2 and exhibited a higher degree of overlap between domains for different functional attributes. In V2, size and color regions were largely segregated from orientation domains, whereas in V4 both color and size regions overlapped considerably with orientation regions. Our results suggest that higher-order composite selectivities in the extrastriate cortex may arise organically from the interactions afforded by an overlap of functional domains for lower order selectivities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031216
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank John Maunsell, Michael Crair, and Bill Bosking for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the National Eye Institute (EY08240) and the McKnight Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.


  • areal specialization
  • color and form vision
  • extrastriate visual cortex
  • functional organization
  • optical imaging


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