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J Neurosci. 1995 Jul;15(7 Pt 2):5192-208.

Response of monkey MST neurons to optic flow stimuli with shifted centers of motion.

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Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Neurons in the dorsal region of the medial superior temporal area (MSTd) have previously been shown to respond to the expanding radial motion that occurs as an observer moves through the environment. In previous experiments, MSTd neurons were tested with radial and circular motion centered in the visual field. However, different directions of observer motion, relative to the direction of gaze, are accompanied by visual motion centered at different locations in the visual field. The present experiments investigated whether neurons that respond to radial and circular motion might respond differently when the center of motion was shifted to different regions of the visual field. About 90% of the 245 neurons studied responded differently when the center of motion was shifted away from the center of the field. The centers of motion preferred by each neuron were limited to one area of the visual field. All parts of the visual field were represented in the sample, with greater numbers of neurons preferring centers of motion closer to the center of the field. We hypothesize that each of the MSTd neurons has a center of motion field with a gradient of preferred centers of motion, and that there is an orderly arrangement of MSTd neurons with each region of the visual field being represented by a set of neurons. This arrangement creates the potential for graded responses from individual neurons for different directions of heading as an observer moves through the environment.

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