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Resolving the organization of the territory of the third visual area: A new proposal

  • JON H. KAAS (a1), ANNA W. ROE (a1), MARY K.L. BALDWIN (a2) and DAVID C. LYON (a3)


In primates, the cortex adjoining the rostral border of V2 has been variously interpreted as belonging to a single visual area, V3, with dorsal V3 (V3d) representing the lower visual quadrant and ventral V3 (V3v) representing the upper visual quadrant, V3d and V3v constituting separate, incomplete visual areas, V3d and ventral posterior (VP), or V3d being divided into several visual areas, including a dorsomedial (DM) visual area, a medial visual area (M), and dorsal extension of VP (or VLP). In our view, the evidence from V1 connections strongly supports the contention that V3v and V3d are parts of a single visual area, V3, and that DM is a separate visual area along the rostral border of V3d. In addition, the retinotopy revealed by V1 connection patterns, microelectrode mapping, optical imaging mapping, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) mapping indicates that much of the proposed territory of V3d corresponds to V3. Yet, other evidence from microelectrode mapping and anatomical connection patterns supports the possibility of an upper quadrant representation along the rostral border of the middle of dorsal V2 (V2d), interpreted as part of DM or DM plus DI, and along the midline end of V2d, interpreted as the visual area M. While the data supporting these different interpretations appear contradictory, they also seem, to some extent, valid. We suggest that V3d may have a gap in its middle, possibly representing part of the upper visual quadrant that is not part of DM. In addition, another visual area, M, is likely located at the DM tip of V3d. There is no evidence for a similar disruption of V3v. For the present, we favor continuing the traditional concept of V3 with the possible modification of a gap in V3d in at least some primates.


Corresponding author

*Address correspondence to: Jon H. Kaas, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, 111 21st Avenue S., Nashville, TN 37240-7817. E-mail:


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