Structural and functional correlates of visual field asymmetry in the human brain by diffusion kurtosis MRI and functional MRI

Caitlin O'Connell, Leon C. Ho, Matthew C. Murphy, Ian P. Conner, Gadi Wollstein, Rakie Cham, Kevin C. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Human visual performance has been observed to show superiority in localized regions of the visual field across many classes of stimuli. However, the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. This study aims to determine whether the visual information processing in the human brain is dependent on the location of stimuli in the visual field and the corresponding neuroarchitecture using blood-oxygenation-level-dependent functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion kurtosis MRI, respectively, in 15 healthy individuals at 3 T. In fMRI, visual stimulation to the lower hemifield showed stronger brain responses and larger brain activation volumes than the upper hemifield, indicative of the differential sensitivity of the human brain across the visual field. In diffusion kurtosis MRI, the brain regions mapping to the lower visual field showed higher mean kurtosis, but not fractional anisotropy or mean diffusivity compared with the upper visual field. These results suggested the different distributions of microstructural organization across visual field brain representations. There was also a strong positive relationship between diffusion kurtosis and fMRI responses in the lower field brain representations. In summary, this study suggested the structural and functional brain involvements in the asymmetry of visual field responses in humans, and is important to the neurophysiological and psychological understanding of human visual information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1231
Number of pages7
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • diffusion kurtosis imaging
  • functional MRI
  • human brain
  • vision
  • visual field asymmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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