Outward bound receptive fields

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Does having a visual field defect affect the representation of the visual world in the human brain? In a paper in the journal “Neuroimage”, Gokhul Prabhakaran and colleagues report that it does. Using fMRI, they find that neurons in the part of the visual brain that represent the fovea, the high resolution part of the eye, temporarily shifted their receptive fields towards the periphery, when a peripheral defect was simulated in control participants. This is a form of short-term plasticity that was not yet known and may affect the interpretation of similar findings in patients. Want to know more? You can find the paper here.

Simulating a peripheral defect was done by decreasing the size of the stimulated area of the visual field during a fMRI experiment.