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Neuron. 2013 May 8;78(3):554-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.03.010.

Motion-dependent representation of space in area MT+.

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Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


How is visual space represented in cortical area MT+? At a relatively coarse scale, the organization of MT+ is debated; retinotopic, spatiotopic, or mixed representations have all been proposed. However, none of these representations entirely explain the perceptual localization of objects at a fine spatial scale--a scale relevant for tasks like navigating or manipulating objects. For example, perceived positions of objects are strongly modulated by visual motion; stationary flashes appear shifted in the direction of nearby motion. Does spatial coding in MT+ reflect these shifts in perceived position? We performed an fMRI experiment employing this "flash-drag" effect and found that flashes presented near motion produced patterns of activity similar to physically shifted flashes in the absence of motion. This reveals a motion-dependent change in the neural representation of object position in human MT+, a process that could help compensate for perceptual and motor delays in localizing objects in dynamic scenes.

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