Viewed actions are mapped in retinotopic coordinates in the human visual pathways

Yuval Porat*, Yoni Pertzov, Ehud Zohary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Viewed object-oriented actions elicit widespread fMRI activation in the dorsal and ventral visual pathways. This activation is typically stronger in the hemisphere contralateral to the visual field in which action is seen. However, since in previous studies participants kept fixation at the same screen position throughout the scan, it was impossible to infer if the viewed actions are represented in retina-based coordinates or in a more elaborated coordinate system. Here, participants changed their gaze between experimental conditions, such that some conditions shared the same retinotopic coordinates (but differed in their screen position), while other pairs of conditions shared the opposite trait. The degree of similarity between the patterns of activation elicited by the various conditions was assessed using multivoxel pattern analysis methods. Regions of interest, showing robust overall activation, included the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and the occipitotemporal cortex. In these areas, the correlation between activation patterns for conditions sharing the same retinotopic coordinates was significantly higher than that of those having different retinotopic coordinates. In contrast, the correlations between activation patterns for conditions with the same spatiotopic coordinates were not significantly greater than for non-spatiotopic conditions. These results suggest that viewed object-oriented actions are likely to be maintained in retinotopic-framed coordinates.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number17
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2011


  • MVPA
  • Object grasping
  • Parietal cortex
  • Representation
  • fMRI


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