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Eur J Neurosci. 2002 Nov;16(10):1877-86.

Interaction of linear vestibular and visual stimulation in the macaque ventral intraparietal area (VIP).

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Allgemeine Zoologie & Neurobiologie, Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum, Germany.


Navigation in space requires the brain to combine information arising from different sensory modalities with the appropriate motor commands. Sensory information about self-motion in particular is provided by the visual and the vestibular system. The macaque ventral intraparietal area (VIP) has recently been shown to be involved in the processing of self-motion information provided by optical flow, to contain multimodal neurons and to receive input from areas involved in the analysis of vestibular information. By studying responses to linear vestibular, visual and bimodal stimulation we aimed at gaining more insight into the mechanisms involved in multimodal integration and self-motion processing. A large proportion of cells (77%) revealed a significant response to passive linear translation of the monkey. Of these cells, 59% encoded information about the direction of self-motion. The phase relationship between vestibular stimulation and neuronal responses covered a broad spectrum, demonstrating the complexity of the spatio-temporal pattern of vestibular information encoded by neurons in area VIP. For 53% of the direction-selective neurons the preferred directions for stimuli of both modalities were the same; they were opposite for the remaining 47% of the neurons. During bimodal stimulation the responses of neurons with opposite direction selectivity in the two modalities were determined either by the visual (53%) or the vestibular (47%) modality. These heterogeneous responses to unimodal and bimodal stimulation might be used to prevent misjudgements about self- and/or object-motion, which could be caused by relying on information of one sensory modality alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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