Shifts in the population response in the middle temporal visual area parallel perceptual and motor illusions produced by apparent motion.

Journal Article (Clinical Trial;Journal Article)

We recorded behavioral, perceptual, and neural responses to targets that provided apparent visual motion consisting of a sequence of stationary flashes. Increasing the flash separation degrades the quality of motion, but for some separations evoked larger smooth pursuit responses from both humans and monkeys than did smooth motion. The same flash separations also produced an increase in perceived speed in humans. Recordings from single neurons in the middle temporal visual area (MT) of awake monkeys revealed a potential basis for the illusion in the population response. Apparent motion produced diminished neural responses relative to smooth motion. However, neurons with slow preferred speeds were more affected than were those with fast preferred speeds. Increasing the flash separation thus caused the population response to become diminished in amplitude and to shift so that the most active neurons had higher preferred speeds. The entire constellation of effects of apparent motion on the magnitude and latency of the initial pursuit response was accounted for if the MT population response was decoded by (1) creating an opponent motion signal for each neuron by treating its preferred and opposite direction responses as those of a pair of oppositely tuned neurons and (2) computing the vector average of these opponent motion signals. Other ways of decoding the population response recorded in MT failed to account for one or more aspects of behavior. We conclude that the effects of apparent motion on both pursuit and perception can be accounted for if target speed is estimated from the MT population response by a neural computation that implements a vector average based on opponent motion.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Churchland, MM; Lisberger, SG

Published Date

  • December 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 23

Start / End Page

  • 9387 - 9402

PubMed ID

  • 11717372

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2570352

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-2401


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States