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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013, Article ID 864920, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/864920
Review Article

Neural Pathways Conveying Novisual Information to the Visual Cortex

1Department of Radiology and Tianjin Key Laboratory of Functional Imaging, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin 300052, China
2School of Medical Imaging, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Tianjin 300052, China

Received 31 March 2013; Accepted 22 May 2013

Academic Editor: Małgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2013 Wen Qin and Chunshui Yu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The visual cortex has been traditionally considered as a stimulus-driven, unimodal system with a hierarchical organization. However, recent animal and human studies have shown that the visual cortex responds to non-visual stimuli, especially in individuals with visual deprivation congenitally, indicating the supramodal nature of the functional representation in the visual cortex. To understand the neural substrates of the cross-modal processing of the non-visual signals in the visual cortex, we firstly showed the supramodal nature of the visual cortex. We then reviewed how the nonvisual signals reach the visual cortex. Moreover, we discussed if these non-visual pathways are reshaped by early visual deprivation. Finally, the open question about the nature (stimulus-driven or top-down) of non-visual signals is also discussed.