The temporal frequency tuning of human visual cortex investigated using synthetic aperture magnetometry

Ian P. Fawcett, Gareth R. Barnes, Arjan Hillebrand, Krish D. Singh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using synthetic aperture magnetometry (SAM) analyses of magnetoencephalographic (MEG) data, we investigated the variation in cortical response magnitude and frequency as a function of stimulus temporal frequency. In two separate experiments, a reversing checkerboard stimulus was used in the right or left lower visual field at frequencies from 0 to 21 Hz. Average temporal frequency tuning curves were constructed for regions-of-interest located within medial visual cortex and V5/MT. In medial visual cortex, it was found that both the frequency and magnitude of the steady-state response varied as a function of the stimulus frequency, with multiple harmonics of the stimulus frequency being found in the response. The maximum fundamental response was found at a stimulus frequency of 8 Hz, whilst the maximum broadband response occurred at 4 Hz. In contrast, the magnitude and frequency content of the evoked onset response showed no dependency on stimulus frequency. Whilst medial visual cortex showed a power increase during stimulation, extra-striate areas such as V5/MT exhibited a bilateral event-related desynchronisation (ERD). The frequency content of this ERD did not depend on the stimulus frequency but was a broadband power reduction across the 5-20 Hz frequency range. The magnitude of this ERD within V5/MT was strongly low-pass tuned for stimulus frequency, and showed only a moderate preference for stimuli in the contralateral visual field. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1542-1553
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jan 2004
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • ERD
  • MEG
  • stimulus frequency


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