Hue Selectivity in Human Visual Cortex Revealed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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The variability of color-selective neurons in human visual cortex is considered more diverse than cone-opponent mechanisms. We addressed this issue by deriving histograms of hue-selective voxels measured using fMRI with a novel stimulation paradigm, where the stimulus hue changed continuously. Despite the large between-subject difference in hue-selective histograms, individual voxels exhibited selectivity for intermediate hues, such as purple, cyan, and orange, in addition to those along cone-opponent axes. In order to rule the possibility out that the selectivity for intermediate hues emerged through spatial summation of activities of neurons selectively responding to cone-opponent signals, we further tested hue-selective adaptations in intermediate directions of cone-opponent axes, by measuring responses to 4 diagonal hues during concurrent adaptation to 1 of the 4 hues. The selective and unidirectional reduction in response to the adapted hue lends supports to our argument that cortical neurons respond selectively to intermediate hues.

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