Special Issue "Visual Perception and Its Neural Mechanisms"

A special issue of Vision (ISSN 2411-5150).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Kendrick Kay

Assistant Professor, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, Department of Radiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
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Interests: visual neuroscience; neuroimaging methods; computational modeling; attention; object recognition; statistics
Guest Editor
Dr. Bas Rokers

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: visual perception; motion and depth processing; perceptual disorders; virtual reality; sensory integration; binocular vision

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For this Special Issue on “Visual Perception and Its Neural Mechanisms”, we invite a mixture of original and review articles that provide insight into the neural computations performed by visual cortex. We especially encourage articles that address issues pertaining to (i) advances in techniques for neural measurement or (ii) neural data analysis and modeling approaches that elucidate perceptual mechanisms.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Advanced methods improving the resolution and quality of neural measurements
  2. Computational modeling frameworks
  3. Efforts to clarify the link between brain responses and behavior (e.g., perceptual judgments, awareness, uncertainty, reaction times)
  4. Efforts to bridge spatial and temporal scales of measurement (e.g. single units vs. population measures)
  5. Novel insights into the organization of, and within, visual areas in the brain
  6. Neural biomarkers for perceptual disorders

If you are considering a review article, please send us a brief proposal before a full submission.

Dr. Kendrick Kay
Dr. Bas Rokers
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Vision is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • perception
  • neural mechanism
  • computational modeling
  • fMRI
  • ECoG
  • optical imaging
  • electrophysiology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Normalization by the variance across orientation channels in human V1-V3

Authors: Zeming Fang, Weiji Ma, Jonathan Winawer

Affiliations: Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University

Abstract: An influential account of neuronal responses in primary visual cortex is the normalized energy model. This model is often implemented as a two-stage computation. The first stage is the extraction of contrast energy, whereby a complex cell computes the squared and summed outputs of a pair of linear filters in quadrature phase. The second stage is normalization, in which a local population of complex cells mutually inhibit one another; as a result, responses are effectively normalized by the local stimulus contrast.  Here, using evidence from human functional MRI, we show that the classical model fails to account for the relative responses to two classes of stimuli: straight, parallel, band-passed contours (which we call ‘sparse gratings’), and curved, band-passed contours (‘sparse patterns’). The second class of stimuli elicit fMRI responses that are about twice as large as the first class, yet traditional energy models, including normalized energy models, predict responses that are about the same. In this paper, we propose a novel computational model, in which responses are normalized not by the sum of the contrast energy, but by the variance in contrast energy, computed across orientation channels. We first show that this model accounts for the responses to these two classes of stimuli. We then show that the model successfully generalizes to a large number of other band-pass textures, both in V1 and in extrastriate cortex (V2 and V3). We speculate that the variability in the output of orientation channels reflects the pooled activity of neurons that analyze the outputs of V1, and that this signal normalizes the V1 responses via feedback.


Title: Visual motion displaces population receptive fields in V1 in the direction opposite to motion

Authors: Marian Schneider, Ingo Marquart, Shubarti Sengupta, Federico De Martino, Rainer Goebel


1 Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
2 Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

Abstract: Electro-physiological studies have shown that coherent motion presented in a stationary aperture displaces the receptive field (RF) of neurons in the direction opposite to motion, at least in cats and macaque monkeys. In humans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have shown direction- and speed-dependent effects of motion on population RF (pRF) measures. However, the direction in which motion displaces the pRF remains unclear. We addressed this question by measuring pRFs for four participants under two conditions: the carrier pattern moved either (1) towards or (2) away from fixation. We found that pRFs were shifted against the direction of motion in V1 and to a smaller degree in V2 and V3. We offer an explanation in form of a model for why perceptually apertures are shifted in the direction of motion even though pRFs shift in the opposite direction.




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