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The cerebral cortex has both anatomical and functional specialization, but the level of correspondence between the two in the human brain has remained largely elusive. Recent successes in high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of myeloarchitecture patterns in the cortex suggest that it may now be possible to compare directly human anatomy and function in vivo. We independently investigated the anatomical and functional borders between primary and secondary human visual areas (V1 and V2) in vivo. Functional borders were mapped with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using a narrow, vertical black and white contrast-reversing wedge. In three separate scanning sessions, anatomical images were collected at three different slice orientations (300 microm x 300 microm, slice thickness, 1.5 mm). The anatomical signature of V1 was determined by the presence of a hypointense band in the middle of the cortical gray matter. The band was identified in between 81% and 33% (mean 57%) of V1 defined using fMRI, and less than 5% of the identified band was in cortex outside V1. Intensity profiles taken through the gray matter on the V1 and V2 sides of the functional border indicate a measurable difference in the size of the hypointense band for all subjects. This is the first demonstration that the definition of V1 by fMRI closely matches the anatomically defined striate cortex in the human brain. The development of very high-resolution structural MRI may permit the definition of cortical areas based on myeloarchitecture when functional definition is not possible.

Original publication




Journal article


J Vis

Publication Date





93 - 102


Adult, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Visual Cortex, Visual Perception