Specific areas of the human brain process different functions, such as the auditory cortex for hearing and the olfactory cortex for smell. Among these functional areas, the single largest is devoted to vision. The dominance of the visual cortex may not be surprising given the importance of sight to the human species. But science still has a lot to learn about the way input from our eyes is represented by our brains.
This specialized work within neuroscience is called retinotopy or retinotopic mapping, and a leading researcher in the field is Yalin Wang, an associate professor of computer science and engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.
“Retinotopic maps depict the way neurons in the brain display our visual field, which is what we see or the way light stimulates our retinas,” Wang says. “Our current research examines a specific area in the brain called V1, which is one of 14 areas devoted to visual processing. So, it’s a very defined space, but our understanding has remained limited.”