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Article
Nature Neuroscience - 9, 1421 - 1431 (2006)
Published online: 15 October 2006; | doi:10.1038/nn1786

How MT cells analyze the motion of visual patterns

Nicole C Rust1, 2, 4, Valerio Mante2, 3, 4, Eero P Simoncelli1, 2, 5 & J Anthony Movshon2, 5

1  Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.

2  Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.

3  Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich, and Federal Institute of Technology, CH-8057, Zurich, Switzerland.

4  Present addresses: McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA (N.C.R.) and Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA (V.M.).

5  These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence should be addressed to Nicole C Rust rust@mit.edu

Neurons in area MT (V5) are selective for the direction of visual motion. In addition, many are selective for the motion of complex patterns independent of the orientation of their components, a behavior not seen in earlier visual areas. We show that the responses of MT cells can be captured by a linear-nonlinear model that operates not on the visual stimulus, but on the afferent responses of a population of nonlinear V1 cells. We fit this cascade model to responses of individual MT neurons and show that it robustly predicts the separately measured responses to gratings and plaids. The model captures the full range of pattern motion selectivity found in MT. Cells that signal pattern motion are distinguished by having convergent excitatory input from V1 cells with a wide range of preferred directions, strong motion opponent suppression and a tuned normalization that may reflect suppressive input from the surround of V1 cells.

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Nature Neuroscience
ISSN: 1097-6256
EISSN: 1546-1726
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