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Implied Motion Activation in Cortical Area MT Can Be Explained by Visual Low-level Features

Lankheet, Martin J. M.; van Wezel, Richard J. A.; Lorteije, Jeannette A. M.; Lorteije, Jeannette A.M.; Jellema, Tjeerd; Raemaekers, Mathijs; Duijnhouwer, Jacob; Barraclough, Nick E.; Xiao, Dengke; Oram, Mike W.; Lankheet, Martin J.M.; Perrett, David I.; van Wezel, Richard J.A.


Martin J. M. Lankheet

Richard J. A. van Wezel

Jeannette A. M. Lorteije

Jeannette A.M. Lorteije

Mathijs Raemaekers

Jacob Duijnhouwer

Nick E. Barraclough

Dengke Xiao

Mike W. Oram

Martin J.M. Lankheet

David I. Perrett

Richard J.A. van Wezel


To investigate form-related activity inmotion-sensitive cortical areas, we recorded cell responses to animate implied motion in macaque middle temporal (MT) and medial superior temporal (MST) cortex and investigated these areas using fMRI in humans. In the single-cell studies, we compared responses with static images of human or monkey figures walking or running left or right with responses to the same human and monkey figures standing or sitting still. We also investigated whether the view of the animate figure (facing left or right) that elicited the highest response was correlated with the preferred direction for moving random dot patterns. First, figures were presented inside the cell's receptive field. Subsequently, figures were presented at the fovea while a dynamic noise pattern was presented at the cell's receptive field location. The results show that MT neurons did not discriminate between figures on the basis of the implied motion content. Instead, response preferences for implied motion correlated with preferences for low-level visual features such as orientation and size. No correlation was found between the preferred view of figures implying motion and the preferred direction for moving random dot patterns. Similar findings were obtained in a smaller population of MST cortical neurons. Testing human MT+ responses with fMRI further corroborated the notion that low-level stimulus features might explain implied motion activation in human MT+. Together, these results suggest that prior human imaging studies demonstrating animate implied motion processing in area MT+ can be best explained by sensitivity for low-level features rather than sensitivity for the motion implied by animate figures.


Lorteije, J. A., Jellema, T., Raemaekers, M., Duijnhouwer, J., Barraclough, N. E., Xiao, D., Oram, M. W., Lankheet, M. J., Perrett, D. I., & van Wezel, R. J. (2011). Implied Motion Activation in Cortical Area MT Can Be Explained by Visual Low-level Features. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 23(6), 1533-1548.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2011
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2011
Publication Date Jun 1, 2011
Print ISSN 0898-929X
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 6
Pages 1533-1548
Keywords double magnetic induction feature-based attention representational momentum static images sts neurons human brain macaque mt optic flow responses fmri
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