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J Opt Soc Am A. 1989 Jul;6(7):1070-87.

Computational structure of a biological motion-detection system as revealed by local detector analysis in the fly's nervous system.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biologische Kybernetik, Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


The computations performed by individual movement detectors are analyzed by intracellularly recording from an identified direction-selective motion-sensitive interneuron in the fly's brain and by comparing these results with model predictions based on movement detectors of the correlation type. Three main conclusions were drawn with respect to the movement-detection system of the fly: (1) The essential nonlinear interaction between the two movement-detector input channels can be characterized formally by a mathematically almost perfect multiplication process. (2) Even at high contrasts no significant nonlinearities seem to distort the time course of the movement-detector input signals. (3) The movement detectors of the fly are not perfectly antisymmetrical; i.e., they respond with different time courses and amplitudes to motion in their preferred and null directions. As a consequence of this property, the motion detectors can respond to some degree to stationary patterns whose brightness is modulated in time. Moreover, the direction selectivity, i.e., the relative difference of the responses to motion in the preferred and null directions, depends on the contrast and on the spatial-frequency content of the stimulus pattern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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