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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences




Many measures of visual function reach adult levels by about age 5, but some visual abilities continue to develop throughout adolescence. Little is known about the underlying functional anatomy of visual cortex in human infants or children. We used fMRI to measure the retinotopic organization of visual cortex in 15 children aged 7–12 years. Overall, we obtained adult-like patterns for most children tested. We found that significant head motion accounted for poor quality maps in a few tested children who were excluded from further analysis. When the maps from 10 children were compared with those obtained from 10 adults, the magnitude of retinotopic signals in visual areas V1, V2, V3, V3A, VP, and V4v was essentially the same between children and adults. Furthermore, one measure of intra-area organization, the cortical magnification function, did not significantly differ between adults and children for V1 or V2. However, quantitative analysis of visual area size revealed some significant differences beyond V1. Adults had larger extrastriate areas (V2, V3, VP, and V4v), when measured absolutely or as a proportion of the entire cortical sheet. We found that the extent and laterality of retinotopic signals beyond these classically defined areas, in parietal and lateral occipital cortex, showed some differences between adults and children. These data serve as a useful reference for studies of higher cognitive function in pediatric populations and for studies of children with vision disorders, such as amblyopia.

Source Citation

Conner, I. P., Sharma, S., Lemieux, S. K., & Mendola, J. D. (2004). Retinotopic organization in children measured with fMRI. Journal of Vision, 4(6), 10–10.



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