Visual Responses of the Human Superior Colliculus: A High-Resolution Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Keith A. Schneider, Sabine Kastner
2005 Journal of Neurophysiology  
Visual responses of the human superior colliculus: a high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging study. . The superior colliculus (SC) is a multimodal laminar structure located on the roof of the brain stem. The SC is a key structure in a distributed network of areas that mediate saccadic eye movements and shifts of attention across the visual field and has been extensively studied in nonhuman primates. In humans, it has proven difficult to study the SC with functional MRI (fMRI)
more » ... se of its small size, deep location, and proximity to pulsating vascular structures. Here, we performed a series of high-resolution fMRI studies at 3 T to investigate basic visual response properties of the SC. The retinotopic organization of the SC was determined using the traveling wave method with flickering checkerboard stimuli presented at different polar angles and eccentricities. SC activations were confined to stimulation of the contralateral hemifield. Although a detailed retinotopic map was not observed, across subjects, the upper and lower visual fields were represented medially and laterally, respectively. Responses were dominantly evoked by stimuli presented along the horizontal meridian of the visual field. We also measured the sensitivity of the SC to luminance contrast, which has not been previously reported in primates. 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doi:10.1152/jn.00288.2005 pmid:15944234 fatcat:kiz45kibbvf4hid3omrqlecx6q