Wide-field, motion-sensitive neurons and matched filters for optic flow fields

Biol Cybern. 2000 Sep;83(3):185-97. doi: 10.1007/s004220000163.


The receptive field organization of a class of visual interneurons in the fly brain (vertical system, or VS neurons) shows a striking similarity to certain self-motion-induced optic flow fields. The present study compares the measured motion sensitivities of the VS neurons (Krapp et al. 1998) to a matched filter model for optic flow fields generated by rotation or translation. The model minimizes the variance of the filter output caused by noise and distance variability between different scenes. To that end, prior knowledge about distance and self-motion statistics is incorporated in the form of a "world model". We show that a special case of the matched filter model is able to predict the local motion sensitivities observed in some VS neurons. This suggests that their receptive field organization enables the VS neurons to maintain a consistent output when the same type of self-motion occurs in different situations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diptera / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Visual Perception*