Visual cortex

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The term visual cortex refers to the primary visual cortex (also known as striate cortex or V1) and extrastriate visual cortical areas such as V2, V3, V4, and V5. The primary visual cortex is anatomically equivalent to Brodmann area 17, or BA17. The extrastriate cortical areas consist of Brodmann area 18 and Brodmann area 19. There is a visual cortex for each hemisphere of the brain. The left hemisphere visual cortex receives signals from the right visual field and the right visual cortex from the left visual field. The body of this article describes the primate (especially, human) visual cortex.

Contents

Introduction

The primary visual cortex, V1, is the koniocortex (sensory type) located in and around the calcarine fissure in the occipital lobe. Each hemisphere's V1 receives information directly from its ipsilateral lateral geniculate nucleus.

Each V1 transmits information to two primary pathways, called the dorsal stream and the ventral stream:

  • The dorsal stream begins with V1, goes through Visual area V2, then to the dorsomedial area and Visual area MT (also known as V5) and to the posterior parietal cortex. The dorsal stream, sometimes called the "Where Pathway" or "How Pathway", is associated with motion, representation of object locations, and control of the eyes and arms, especially when visual information is used to guide saccades or reaching.[1]
  • The ventral stream begins with V1, goes through visual area V2, then through visual area V4, and to the inferior temporal cortex. The ventral stream, sometimes called the "What Pathway", is associated with form recognition and object representation. It is also associated with storage of long-term memory.

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