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J Neurosci. 2006 Mar 8;26(10):2614-22.

Fine temporal properties of center-surround interactions in motion revealed by reverse correlation.

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Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA.


Center-surround interactions are a key property of visual motion mechanisms. Using a temporal reverse correlation method with human observers, we investigated perceptual interactions between a brief center motion (approximately 20 ms) and a surround that moved up-down with a new direction chosen randomly every 5 ms. The aim was to reveal interactions between center and surround motions and their dependency on relative direction, contrast, and timing. Hypothesizing that surround computation involves different neural circuitry than the center response, we manipulated surround contrast to affect the relative timing of center and surround signals. The reverse correlation analysis yielded temporal profiles of surround influence indicating, in 5 ms steps, the time course of the effect of the surround on the discriminability of center motion. The resulting temporal profiles varied systematically with contrast: as surround contrast decreased, both the latency and duration of its influence increased. This finding, consistent with longer and variable neural response latencies at low contrast, psychophysically reveals fine-scale temporal interactions between center and surround signals. Additionally, the strength of surround influence was correlated with psychophysical thresholds for discriminating center motion. The directionality of this relationship, however, depended only on center contrast. When center motion was high contrast, poor direction discrimination was associated with an increased probability of same-direction surround motions. Low-contrast center motion, however, was more discriminable when surrounded by motion in the same direction, regardless of surround contrast. This suggests that the previously reported adaptive nature of center-surround interactions in motion is driven primarily by the visibility of the center motion signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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