Neuronal responses in visual areas MT and MST during smooth pursuit target selection.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We recorded the activity of single neurons in the middle temporal (MT) and middle superior temporal (MST) visual areas in two macaque monkeys while the animals performed a smooth pursuit target selection task. The monkeys were presented with two moving stimuli of different colors and were trained to initiate smooth pursuit to the stimulus that matched the color of a previously given cue. We designed these experiments so that we could separate the component of the neuronal response that was driven by the visual stimulus from an extraretinal component that predicted the color or direction of the selected target. We found that for all cells in MT and MST the response was primarily determined by the visual stimulus. However, 14% (8 of 58) of MT neurons and 26% (22 of 84) of MST neurons had a small predictive component that was significant at the P < or = 0.05 level. In some cells, the predictive component was clearly related to the color of the intended target, but more often it was correlated with the direction of the target. We have previously documented a systematic shift in the latency of smooth pursuit that depends on the relative direction of motion of the two stimuli. We found that neither the latency nor the amplitude of neuronal responses in MT or MST was correlated with behavioral latency. These results are consistent with a model for target selection in which a weak selection bias for the intended target is amplified by a competitive network that suppresses motion signals related to the nonintended stimulus. It is possible that the predictive component of neuronal responses in MT and MST contributes to the selection bias. However, the strength of the selection bias in MT and MST is not sufficient to account for the high degree of selectivity shown by pursuit behavior.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ferrera, VP; Lisberger, SG

Published Date

  • September 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 78 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 1433 - 1446

PubMed ID

  • 9310434

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3077

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/jn.1997.78.3.1433


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States