John Maunsell, PH.D.

Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology
  • Maunsell Lab
  • 617/432-6779

Our research is aimed at understanding how neuronal signals in visual cerebral cortex generate perceptions and guide behavior. Our approach is to record from individual neurons in trained, behaving monkeys while they perform visual tasks.

Much of our work is directed at understanding how paying attention to specific visual targets affects the way that they are represented in the brain, and how changes in the sensory representation caused by attention relate to changes in perception and behavior. We have shown that attention increases the strength of neuronal responses without changing their selectivity, effectively representing the attended stimulus as if it were more intense than it really is. Paired measurements of neuronal responses and behavioral performance have shown that much of the behavioral advantage conferred by attention may be explained by this change it causes in the sensory representation, rather than decision processes.

Another line of research has been exploring the more general question of how the activity of given neurons contributes to specific visual behaviors. Measurements of the trial-to-trial correlation between the strength of a neuron's responses to a weak stimulus and the animal's performance detecting that stimulus have shown that different neurons contribute to a greater or lesser degree to particular behaviors depending on which stimuli they are most sensitive to.

We also use electrical microstimulation to explore how different regions in visual cortex contribute to visual perceptions. By measuring the amount of current needed to produce a just-detectable stimulus in different cortical areas, we have found that all regions of cerebral cortex are comparable in their ability to produce detectable percepts.

 

 

 

Much of our work is directed at understanding how paying attention to specific visual targets affects the way that they are represented in the brain, and how changes in the sensory representation caused by attention relate to changes in perception and behavior. 

  1. Histed MH, Maunsell JH. Cortical neural populations can guide behavior by integrating inputs linearly, independent of synchrony. December 23, 2013. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

    Link to Abstract
  2. Glickfeld LL, Histed MH, Maunsell JH. Mouse primary visual cortex is used to detect both orientation and contrast changes. December 11, 2013. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  3. Maunsell J. Cover videos. August 7, 2013. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  4. Ray S, Ni AM, Maunsell JH. Strength of gamma rhythm depends on normalization. February 5, 2013. PLoS biology.

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  5. Ghose K, Maunsell JH. A strong constraint to the joint processing of pairs of cortical signals. November 7, 2012. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  6. Kang I, Maunsell JH. Potential confounds in estimating trial-to-trial correlations between neuronal response and behavior using choice probabilities. September 19, 2012. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  7. Ni AM, Ray S, Maunsell JH. Tuned normalization explains the size of attention modulations. February 23, 2012. Neuron.

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  8. Histed MH, Ni AM, Maunsell JH. Insights into cortical mechanisms of behavior from microstimulation experiments. January 28, 2012. Progress in neurobiology.

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  9. Kreiman G, Maunsell JH. Nine criteria for a measure of scientific output. November 10, 2011. Frontiers in computational neuroscience.

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  10. Cohen MR, Maunsell JH. When attention wanders: how uncontrolled fluctuations in attention affect performance. November 2, 2011. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  11. Histed MH, Carvalho LA, Maunsell JH. Psychophysical measurement of contrast sensitivity in the behaving mouse. November 2, 2011. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  12. Ray S, Maunsell JH. Network rhythms influence the relationship between spike-triggered local field potential and functional connectivity. August 31, 2011. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  13. Cohen MR, Maunsell JH. Using neuronal populations to study the mechanisms underlying spatial and feature attention. June 23, 2011. Neuron.

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  14. Bosking WH, Maunsell JH. Effects of stimulus direction on the correlation between behavior and single units in area MT during a motion detection task. June 1, 2011. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  15. Ray S, Maunsell JH. Different origins of gamma rhythm and high-gamma activity in macaque visual cortex. April 12, 2011. PLoS biology.

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  16. Cohen MR, Maunsell JH. A neuronal population measure of attention predicts behavioral performance on individual trials. November 10, 2010. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  17. Ray S, Maunsell JH. Differences in gamma frequencies across visual cortex restrict their possible use in computation. September 9, 2010. Neuron.

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  18. Maunsell J. New feature: Disease Focus. July 28, 2010. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  19. Lee J, Maunsell JH. The effect of attention on neuronal responses to high and low contrast stimuli. June 10, 2010. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  20. Ni AM, Maunsell JH. Microstimulation reveals limits in detecting different signals from a local cortical region. April 8, 2010. Current biology : CB.

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  21. Lee J, Maunsell JH. Attentional modulation of MT neurons with single or multiple stimuli in their receptive fields. February 24, 2010. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  22. Cohen MR, Maunsell JH. Attention improves performance primarily by reducing interneuronal correlations. November 15, 2009. Nature neuroscience.

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  23. Saper CB, Maunsell JH. The neuroscience peer review consortium. September 1, 2009. Brain structure & function.

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  24. Saper CB, Maunsell JH. The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. June 19, 2009. Neuroscience letters.

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  25. Saper CB, Maunsell JH. The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. June 1, 2009. Neuroinformatics.

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  26. Dulay MF, Murphey DK, Sun P, David YB, Maunsell JH, Beauchamp MS, Yoshor D. Computer-controlled electrical stimulation for quantitative mapping of human cortical function. June 1, 2009. Journal of neurosurgery.

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  27. Saper CB, Maunsell JH. The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. March 12, 2009. Neural development.

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  28. Murphey DK, Maunsell JH, Beauchamp MS, Yoshor D. Perceiving electrical stimulation of identified human visual areas. March 10, 2009. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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  29. Lee J, Maunsell JH. A normalization model of attentional modulation of single unit responses. February 27, 2009. PloS one.

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  30. Saper CB, Maunsell JH. The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. February 1, 2009. The European journal of neuroscience.

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  31. Saper CB, Maunsell JH. Neuroendocrinologies membership of the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium. January 30, 2009. Neuroendocrinology.

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  32. Saper CB, Maunsell JH, Sagvolden T. The neuroscience peer review consortium. January 16, 2009. Behavioral and brain functions : BBF.

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  33. Murphey DK, Maunsell JH. Electrical microstimulation thresholds for behavioral detection and saccades in monkey frontal eye fields. May 13, 2008. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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  34. Ghose GM, Maunsell JH. Spatial summation can explain the attentional modulation of neuronal responses to multiple stimuli in area V4. May 7, 2008. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  35. Maunsell J. The NIH Public Access Policy. April 16, 2008. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  36. Yoshor D, Bosking WH, Lega BC, Sun P, Maunsell JH. Local cortical function after uncomplicated subdural electrode implantation. Laboratory investigation. January 1, 2008. Journal of neurosurgery.

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  37. Yoshor D, Ghose GM, Bosking WH, Sun P, Maunsell JH. Spatial attention does not strongly modulate neuronal responses in early human visual cortex. November 28, 2007. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  38. Lee J, Williford T, Maunsell JH. Spatial attention and the latency of neuronal responses in macaque area V4. September 5, 2007. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  39. Murphey DK, Maunsell JH. Behavioral detection of electrical microstimulation in different cortical visual areas. April 26, 2007. Current biology : CB.

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  40. Yoshor D, Bosking WH, Ghose GM, Maunsell JH. Receptive fields in human visual cortex mapped with surface electrodes. December 16, 2006. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991).

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  41. Boudreau CE, Williford TH, Maunsell JH. Effects of task difficulty and target likelihood in area V4 of macaque monkeys. July 19, 2006. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  42. Williford T, Maunsell JH. Effects of spatial attention on contrast response functions in macaque area V4. July 1, 2006. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  43. Maunsell JH, Treue S. Feature-based attention in visual cortex. May 11, 2006. Trends in neurosciences.

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  44. Ferrera VP, Maunsell JH. Motion processing in macaque V4. September 1, 2005. Nature neuroscience.

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  45. DiCarlo JJ, Maunsell JH. Using neuronal latency to determine sensory-motor processing pathways in reaction time tasks. November 17, 2004. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  46. Cook EP, Maunsell JH. Attentional modulation of motion integration of individual neurons in the middle temporal visual area. September 8, 2004. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  47. Maunsell JH. Neuronal representations of cognitive state: reward or attention? June 1, 2004. Trends in cognitive sciences.

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  48. Yang T, Maunsell JH. The effect of perceptual learning on neuronal responses in monkey visual area V4. February 18, 2004. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  49. DiCarlo JJ, Maunsell JH. Anterior inferotemporal neurons of monkeys engaged in object recognition can be highly sensitive to object retinal position. June 1, 2003. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  50. Ghose GM, Maunsell JH. Attentional modulation in visual cortex depends on task timing. October 10, 2002. Nature.

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  51. Cook EP, Maunsell JH. Dynamics of neuronal responses in macaque MT and VIP during motion detection. October 1, 2002. Nature neuroscience.

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  52. Maunsell JH, Cook EP. The role of attention in visual processing. August 29, 2002. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences.

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  53. Ghose GM, Yang T, Maunsell JH. Physiological correlates of perceptual learning in monkey V1 and V2. April 1, 2002. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  54. Cook EP, Maunsell JH. Attentional modulation of behavioral performance and neuronal responses in middle temporal and ventral intraparietal areas of macaque monkey. March 1, 2002. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  55. DiCarlo JJ, Maunsell JH. Form representation in monkey inferotemporal cortex is virtually unaltered by free viewing. August 1, 2000. Nature neuroscience.

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  56. McAdams CJ, Maunsell JH. Attention to both space and feature modulates neuronal responses in macaque area V4. March 1, 2000. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  57. Treue S, Maunsell JH. Effects of attention on the processing of motion in macaque middle temporal and medial superior temporal visual cortical areas. September 1, 1999. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  58. Ghose GM, Maunsell J. Specialized representations in visual cortex: a role for binding? September 1, 1999. Neuron.

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  59. McAdams CJ, Maunsell JH. Effects of attention on the reliability of individual neurons in monkey visual cortex. August 1, 1999. Neuron.

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  60. Maunsell JH, Ghose GM, Assad JA, McAdams CJ, Boudreau CE, Noerager BD. Visual response latencies of magnocellular and parvocellular LGN neurons in macaque monkeys. January 1, 1999. Visual neuroscience.

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  61. McAdams CJ, Maunsell JH. Effects of attention on orientation-tuning functions of single neurons in macaque cortical area V4. January 1, 1999. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  62. Sereno AB, Maunsell JH. Shape selectivity in primate lateral intraparietal cortex. October 1, 1998. Nature.

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  63. Gibson JR, Maunsell JH. Sensory modality specificity of neural activity related to memory in visual cortex. September 1, 1997. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  64. Marsálek P, Koch C, Maunsell J. On the relationship between synaptic input and spike output jitter in individual neurons. January 21, 1997. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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  65. Treue S, Maunsell JH. Attentional modulation of visual motion processing in cortical areas MT and MST. August 8, 1996. Nature.

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  66. Lehky SR, Maunsell JH. No binocular rivalry in the LGN of alert macaque monkeys. May 1, 1996. Vision research.

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  67. Maunsell JH. The brain's visual world: representation of visual targets in cerebral cortex. November 3, 1995. Science (New York, N.Y.).

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  68. Assad JA, Maunsell JH. Neuronal correlates of inferred motion in primate posterior parietal cortex. February 9, 1995. Nature.

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  69. Ferrera VP, Rudolph KK, Maunsell JH. Responses of neurons in the parietal and temporal visual pathways during a motion task. October 1, 1994. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  70. Ferrera VP, Nealey TA, Maunsell JH. Responses in macaque visual area V4 following inactivation of the parvocellular and magnocellular LGN pathways. April 1, 1994. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  71. Nealey TA, Maunsell JH. Magnocellular and parvocellular contributions to the responses of neurons in macaque striate cortex. April 1, 1994. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  72. Page WK, King WM, Merigan W, Maunsell J. Magnocellular or parvocellular lesions in the lateral geniculate nucleus of monkeys cause minor deficits of smooth pursuit eye movements. January 1, 1994. Vision research.

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  73. Merigan WH, Nealey TA, Maunsell JH. Visual effects of lesions of cortical area V2 in macaques. July 1, 1993. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  74. Merigan WH, Maunsell JH. How parallel are the primate visual pathways? January 1, 1993. Annual review of neuroscience.

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  75. Pasternak T, Maunsell JH. Spatiotemporal sensitivity following lesions of area 18 in the cat. November 1, 1992. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  76. Maunsell JH, Gibson JR. Visual response latencies in striate cortex of the macaque monkey. October 1, 1992. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  77. Ferrera VP, Nealey TA, Maunsell JH. Mixed parvocellular and magnocellular geniculate signals in visual area V4. August 27, 1992. Nature.

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  78. Maunsell JH. Functional visual streams. August 1, 1992. Current opinion in neurobiology.

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  79. Maunsell JH, Sclar G, Nealey TA, DePriest DD. Extraretinal representations in area V4 in the macaque monkey. December 1, 1991. Visual neuroscience.

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  80. Merigan WH, Byrne CE, Maunsell JH. Does primate motion perception depend on the magnocellular pathway? November 1, 1991. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  81. Merigan WH, Katz LM, Maunsell JH. The effects of parvocellular lateral geniculate lesions on the acuity and contrast sensitivity of macaque monkeys. April 1, 1991. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  82. Merigan WH, Maunsell JH. Macaque vision after magnocellular lateral geniculate lesions. October 1, 1990. Visual neuroscience.

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  83. Maunsell JH, Nealey TA, DePriest DD. Magnocellular and parvocellular contributions to responses in the middle temporal visual area (MT) of the macaque monkey. October 1, 1990. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  84. Sclar G, Maunsell JH, Lennie P. Coding of image contrast in central visual pathways of the macaque monkey. January 1, 1990. Vision research.

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  85. Pasternak T, Horn KM, Maunsell JH. Deficits in speed discrimination following lesions of the lateral suprasylvian cortex in the cat. October 1, 1989. Visual neuroscience.

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  86. Maunsell JH. Representation of three-dimensional visual space in the cerebral cortex. April 1, 1988. Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology.

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  87. Haenny PE, Maunsell JH, Schiller PH. State dependent activity in monkey visual cortex. II. Retinal and extraretinal factors in V4. January 1, 1988. Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation cérébrale.

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  88. Maunsell JH, Van Essen DC. Topographic organization of the middle temporal visual area in the macaque monkey: representational biases and the relationship to callosal connections and myeloarchitectonic boundaries. December 22, 1987. The Journal of comparative neurology.

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  89. Schiller PH, Sandell JH, Maunsell JH. The effect of frontal eye field and superior colliculus lesions on saccadic latencies in the rhesus monkey. April 1, 1987. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  90. Maunsell JH, Newsome WT. Visual processing in monkey extrastriate cortex. January 1, 1987. Annual review of neuroscience.

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  91. Newsome WT, Maunsell JH, Van Essen DC. Ventral posterior visual area of the macaque: visual topography and areal boundaries. October 8, 1986. The Journal of comparative neurology.

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  92. Schiller PH, Sandell JH, Maunsell JH. Functions of the ON and OFF channels of the visual system. August 1, 1986. Nature.

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  93. Van Essen DC, Newsome WT, Maunsell JH, Bixby JL. The projections from striate cortex (V1) to areas V2 and V3 in the macaque monkey: asymmetries, areal boundaries, and patchy connections. February 22, 1986. The Journal of comparative neurology.

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  94. Van Essen DC, Newsome WT, Maunsell JH. The visual field representation in striate cortex of the macaque monkey: asymmetries, anisotropies, and individual variability. January 1, 1984. Vision research.

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  95. Maunsell JH, van Essen DC. The connections of the middle temporal visual area (MT) and their relationship to a cortical hierarchy in the macaque monkey. December 1, 1983. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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  96. Maunsell JH, Van Essen DC. Functional properties of neurons in middle temporal visual area of the macaque monkey. II. Binocular interactions and sensitivity to binocular disparity. May 1, 1983. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  97. Maunsell JH, Van Essen DC. Functional properties of neurons in middle temporal visual area of the macaque monkey. I. Selectivity for stimulus direction, speed, and orientation. May 1, 1983. Journal of neurophysiology.

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  98. Van Essen DC, Maunsell JH, Bixby JL. The middle temporal visual area in the macaque: myeloarchitecture, connections, functional properties and topographic organization. July 1, 1981. The Journal of comparative neurology.

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  99. Bixby JL, Maunsell JH, Van Essen DC. Effects of motor unit size on innervation patterns in neonatal mammals. December 1, 1980. Experimental neurology.

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  100. Van Essen DC, Maunsell JH. Two-dimensional maps of the cerebral cortex. May 15, 1980. The Journal of comparative neurology.

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