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Brain. 2005 Sep;128(Pt 9):2134-45. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Deficits of motion integration and segregation in patients with unilateral extrastriate lesions.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, 44 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Functional neuroimaging in human subjects and single cell recordings in monkeys show that several extra-striate visual areas are activated by visual motion. However, the extent to which different types of motion are processed in different regions remains unclear, although neuropsychological studies of patients with circumscribed lesions hint at regional specialization. We, therefore, studied four patients with unilateral damage to different regions of extrastriate visual cortex on a series of visual discrimination tasks that required them, to a different extent, to integrate local motion signals in order to correctly perceive the direction of global motion. Performance was assessed psychophysically and compared with that of control subjects and with the patients' performance with stimuli presented in the visual field ipsilateral to the lesion. The results indicate considerable regional specialization in extra-striate regions for different aspects of motion processing, namely the largest displacement from frame to frame (D-max) that can sustain perception of coherent motion; perception of relative speed; the amount of coherent motion needed to sustain a percept of global motion in a particular direction; the detection of discontinuities within a moving display; the extraction of form from motion. It was also clear that a defect in local motion, i.e. D-max, can be overcome by integrating local motion signals over a longer period of time. Although no patient suffered from only one defect, the overall pattern of results strongly supports the notion of regional specialization for different aspects of motion processing.

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