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J Neurosci. 1999 Nov 1;19(21):9480-96.

Areas involved in encoding and applying directional expectations to moving objects.

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Department of Neurology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Two experiments used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the cortical areas involved in establishing an expectation about the direction of motion of an upcoming object and applying that expectation to the analysis of the object. In Experiment 1, subjects saw a stationary cue that either indicated the direction of motion of a subsequent test stimulus (directional cue) or provided no directional information (neutral cue). Their task was to detect the presence of coherent motion in the test stimulus. The stationary directional cue produced larger modulations than the neutral cue, with respect to a passive viewing baseline, both in motion-sensitive areas such as left MT+ and the anterior intraparietal sulcus, as well as motion-insensitive areas such as the posterior intraparietal sulcus and the junction of the left medial precentral sulcus and superior frontal sulcus. Experiment 2 used an event-related fMRI technique to separate signals during the cue period, in which the expectation was encoded and maintained, from signals during the subsequent test period, in which the expectation was applied to the test object. Cue period activations from a stationary, directional cue included many of the same motion-sensitive and -insensitive areas from Experiment 1 that produced directionally specific modulations. Prefrontal activations were not observed during the cue period, even though the stationary cue information had to be translated into a format appropriate for influencing motion detection, and this format was maintained for the duration of the cue period (approximately 5 sec).

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