November 23, 2020

Representation of contralateral visual space in the human hippocampus

The initial encoding of visual information primarily from the contralateral visual field is a fundamental organizing principle of the primate visual system. Recently, the presence of such retinotopic sensitivity has been shown to extend well beyond early visual cortex to regions not historically considered retinotopically sensitive. In particular, human scene-selective regions in parahippocampal and medial parietal cortex exhibit prominent biases for the contralateral visual field. Here we used fMRI to test the hypothesis that the human hippocampus, which is thought to be anatomically connected with these scene-selective regions, would also exhibit a biased representation of contralateral visual space. First, population receptive field mapping with scene stimuli revealed strong biases for the contralateral visual field in bilateral hippocampus. Second, the distribution of retinotopic sensitivity suggested a more prominent representation in anterior medial portions of the hippocampus. Finally, the contralateral bias was confirmed in independent data taken from the Human Connectome Project initiative. The presence of contralateral biases in the hippocampus, a structure considered by many as the apex of the visual hierarchy, highlights the truly pervasive influence of retinotopy. Moreover, this finding has important implications for understanding how this information relates to the allocentric global spatial representations known to be encoded therein.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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