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Neuroimage. 2004 Apr;21(4):1772-80.

Human MT+ mediates perceptual filling-in during apparent motion.

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  • 1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.


During apparent motion, spatially distinct items presented in alternation cause the perception of a visual stimulus smoothly traversing the intervening space where no physical stimulus exists. We used fMRI to determine whether the perceptual 'filling-in' that underlies this phenomenon has an early or late cortical locus. Subjects viewed a display comprised of concentric rings that elicited apparent motion (two concentric rings presented in alternation), flicker (the same rings presented simultaneously), or real motion. We independently localized the cortical regions corresponding to the path of apparent motion in early visual areas (V1, V2, VP, V3, V4v, V3A), as well as the human motion processing complex (MT+). Cortical activity in the path of apparent motion in early visual areas was similar in amplitude during both apparent motion and flicker. In contrast, cortical activity in MT+ was higher in amplitude during apparent motion than during flicker, but was lower in amplitude than during real motion. In addition, we observed overlap in the cortical loci of MT+ and the lateral occipital complex (LOC), a region involved in shape and object processing. This overlap suggests that these regions could directly interact and thereby support perceived object continuity during apparent motion.

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