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Novel childhood experience suggests eccentricity drives organization of human visual cortex

By Jesse Gomez, Michael Barnett, Kalanit Grill-Spector

Posted 13 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/415729

The functional organization of human high-level visual cortex, such as face and place-selective regions, is strikingly consistent across individuals. A fundamental, unanswered question in neuroscience is what dimensions of visual information constrain the development and topography of this shared brain organization? To answer this question, we scanned with fMRI a unique group of adults who, as children, engaged in extensive experience with a novel stimulus, Pokemon, that varied along critical dimensions (foveal bias, rectilinearity, size, animacy) from other ecological categories such as faces and places. We find that experienced adults not only demonstrate distinct and consistent distributed cortical responses to Pokemon, but their activations suggest that it is the experienced retinal eccentricity during childhood that predicts the locus of distributed responses to Pokemon in adulthood. These data advance our understanding about how childhood experience and functional constraints shape the functional organization of the human brain.

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