Extra-classical receptive field effects measured in striate cortex with fMRI

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The aim of this study was to measure the contextual influence of globally coherent motion on visual cortical responses using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our motivation was to test a prediction from representational theories of perception (i.e.predictive coding) that primary visual responses should be suppressed by top-down influences during coherent motion. We used a sparse stimulus array such that each element could not fall within the same classical receptive field of primary visual cortex neurons (i.e.precluding lateral interactions within V1). This enabled us to attribute differences, in striate cortex responses, to extra-classical receptive field effects mediated by backward connections. In accord with theoretical predictions we were able to demonstrate suppression of striate cortex activations to coherent relative to incoherent motion. These results suggest that suppression of primary visual cortex responses to coherent motion reflect extra-classical effects mediated by backward connections.

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