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Nat Neurosci. 2006 Nov;9(11):1421-31. Epub 2006 Oct 15.

How MT cells analyze the motion of visual patterns.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.


Neurons in area MT (V5) are selective for the direction of visual motion. In addition, many are selective for the motion of complex patterns independent of the orientation of their components, a behavior not seen in earlier visual areas. We show that the responses of MT cells can be captured by a linear-nonlinear model that operates not on the visual stimulus, but on the afferent responses of a population of nonlinear V1 cells. We fit this cascade model to responses of individual MT neurons and show that it robustly predicts the separately measured responses to gratings and plaids. The model captures the full range of pattern motion selectivity found in MT. Cells that signal pattern motion are distinguished by having convergent excitatory input from V1 cells with a wide range of preferred directions, strong motion opponent suppression and a tuned normalization that may reflect suppressive input from the surround of V1 cells.

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