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Magnetoencephalography (MEG) allows the physiological recording of human brain activity at high temporal resolution. However, spatial localization of the source of the MEG signal is an ill-posed problem as the signal alone cannot constrain a unique solution and additional prior assumptions must be enforced. An adequate source reconstruction method for investigating the human visual system should place the sources of early visual activity in known locations in the occipital cortex. We localized sources of retinotopic MEG signals from the human brain with contrasting reconstruction approaches (minimum norm, multiple sparse priors, and beamformer) and compared these to the visual retinotopic map obtained with fMRI in the same individuals. When reconstructing brain responses to visual stimuli that differed by angular position, we found reliable localization to the appropriate retinotopic visual field quadrant by a minimum norm approach and by beamforming. Retinotopic map eccentricity in accordance with the fMRI map could not consistently be localized using an annular stimulus with any reconstruction method, but confining eccentricity stimuli to one visual field quadrant resulted in significant improvement with the minimum norm. These results inform the application of source analysis approaches for future MEG studies of the visual system, and indicate some current limits on localization accuracy of MEG signals.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Neurosci

Publication Date





brain imaging, fMRI, magnetoencephalography (MEG), retinotopy, source localization, vision (ocular)