Linear vestibular self-motion signals in monkey medial superior temporal area

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999 May 28;871:272-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1999.tb09191.x.


The present study was aimed at investigating the sensitivity to linear vestibular stimulation of neurons in the medial superior temporal area (MST) of the macaque monkey. Two monkeys were moved on a parallel swing while single-unit activity was recorded. About one-half of the cells (28/51) responded in the dark either to forward motion (n = 10), or to backward motion (n = 11), or to both (n = 7). Twenty cells responding to vestibular stimulation in darkness were also tested for their responses to optic flow stimulation simulating forward and backward self-motion. Forty-five percent (9/20) of them preferred the same self-motion directions, that is, combined visual and vestibular signals in a synergistic manner. Thirty percent (6/20) of the cells were not responsive to visual stimulation alone. The remaining 25% (5/20) preferred directions that were antialigned. Our results provide strong evidence that neurons in the MST area are at least in part involved in the processing of self-motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Darkness
  • Haplorhini
  • Motion*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*