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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2008;31:389-410. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.29.051605.112953.

Mechanisms of self-motion perception.

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Center for Neuroscience and Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Guiding effective movement through the environment is one of the visual system's most important functions. The pattern of motion that we see allows us to estimate our heading accurately in a variety of environments, despite the added difficulty imposed by our own eye and head movements. The cortical substrates for heading perception include the medial superior temporal area (MST) and the ventral intraparietal area (VIP). This review discusses recent work on these two areas in the context of behavioral observations that establish the important problems the visual system must solve. Signals relevant to self motion are both more widespread than heretofore recognized and also more complex because they are multiplexed with other sensory signals, such as vestibular, auditory, and tactile information. The review presents recent work as a background to highlight important problems that remain unsolved.

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