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Publication Detail
Subjective size perception depends on central visual cortical magnification in human v1.
In the Ebbinghaus illusion, the context surrounding an object modulates its subjectively perceived size. Previous work implicates human primary visual cortex (V1) as the neural substrate mediating this contextual effect. Here we studied in healthy adult humans how two different types of context (large or small inducers) in this illusion affected size perception by comparing each to a reference stimulus without any context. We found that individual differences in the magnitudes of the illusion produced by either type of context were correlated with V1 area defined through retinotopic mapping using functional MRI. However, participants' objective ability to discriminate the size of objects presented in isolation was unrelated to illusion strength and did not correlate with V1 area. Control analyses showed no correlations between behavioral measures and the overall V1 area estimated probabilistically on the basis of neuroanatomy alone. Therefore, subjective size perception correlated with variability in central cortical magnification rather than the anatomical extent of primary visual cortex. We propose that such changes in subjective perception of size are mediated by mechanisms that scale with the extent to which an individual's V1 selectively represents the central visual field.
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