New factors behind better vision
A central question in neuroscience is how the organization of cortical maps relates to perception, for which human primary visual cortex (V1) is an ideal model system. V1 nonuniformly samples the retinal image, with greater cortical magnification (surface area per degree of visual field) at the fovea than periphery and at the horizontal than vertical meridian. Moreover, the size and cortical magnification of V1 varies greatly across individuals. Here, we used fMRI and psychophysics in the same observers to quantify individual differences in V1 cortical magnification and contrast sensitivity at the four polar angle meridians. Across observers, the overall size of V1 and localized cortical magnification positively correlated with contrast sensitivity. Moreover, greater cortical magnification and higher contrast sensitivity at the horizontal than the vertical meridian were strongly correlated. These data reveal a link between cortical anatomy and visual perception at the level of individual observer and stimulus location.