The neural representation of speed in macaque area MT/V5.
Tuning for speed is one key feature of motion-selective neurons in the middle temporal visual area of the macaque cortex (MT, or V5). The present paper asks whether speed is coded in a way that is invariant to the shape of the moving stimulus, and if so, how. When tested with single sine-wave gratings of different spatial and temporal frequencies, MT neurons show a continuum in the degree to which preferred speed depends on spatial frequency. There is some dependence in 75% of MT neurons, and the other 25% maintain speed tuning despite changes in spatial frequency. When tested with stimuli constructed by adding two superimposed sine-wave gratings, the preferred speed of MT neurons becomes less dependent on spatial frequency. Analysis of these responses reveals a speed-tuning nonlinearity that selectively enhances the responses of the neuron when multiple spatial frequencies are present and moving at the same speed. Consistent with the presence of the nonlinearity, MT neurons show speed tuning that is close to form-invariant when the moving stimuli comprise square-wave gratings, which contain multiple spatial frequencies moving at the same speed. We conclude that the neural circuitry in and before MT makes no explicit attempt to render MT neurons speed-tuned for sine-wave gratings, which do not occur in natural scenes. Instead, MT neurons derive form-invariant speed tuning in a way that takes advantage of the multiple spatial frequencies that comprise moving objects in natural scenes.
Priebe, NJ; Cassanello, CR; Lisberger, SG
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