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Nat Neurosci. 2008 Feb;11(2):216-23. doi: 10.1038/nn2039. Epub 2008 Jan 13.

Integrating motion and depth via parallel pathways.

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Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, 260 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Processing of visual information is both parallel and hierarchical, with each visual area richly interconnected with other visual areas. An example of the parallel architecture of the primate visual system is the existence of two principal pathways providing input to the middle temporal visual area (MT): namely, a direct projection from striate cortex (V1), and a set of indirect projections that also originate in V1 but then relay through V2 and V3. Here we have reversibly inactivated the indirect pathways while recording from MT neurons and measuring eye movements in alert monkeys, a procedure that has enabled us to assess whether the two different input pathways are redundant or whether they carry different kinds of information. We find that this inactivation causes a disproportionate degradation of binocular disparity tuning relative to direction tuning in MT neurons, suggesting that the indirect pathways are important in the recovery of depth in three-dimensional scenes.

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