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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Jul;94(1):235-46. Epub 2005 Mar 16.

Rapid processing of retinal slip during saccades in macaque area MT.

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Visual Sciences, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.


The primate middle temporal area (MT) is involved in the analysis and perception of visual motion, which is generated actively by eye and body movements and passively when objects move. We studied the responses of single cells in area MT of awake macaques, comparing the direction tuning and latencies of responses evoked by wide-field texture motion during fixation (passive viewing) and during rewarded, target-directed saccades and non-rewarded, spontaneous saccades over the same stationary texture (active viewing). We found that MT neurons have similar motion sensitivity and direction-selectivity for retinal slip associated with active and passive motion. No cells showed reversals in direction tuning between the active and passive viewing conditions. However, mean latencies were significantly different for saccade-evoked responses (30 ms) and stimulus-evoked responses (67 ms). Our results demonstrate that neurons in area MT retain their direction-selectivity and display reduced processing times during saccades. This rapid, accurate processing of peri-saccadic motion may facilitate post-saccadic ocular following reflexes or corrective saccades.

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