MT neurons combine visual motion with a smooth eye movement signal to code depth-sign from motion parallax

Neuron. 2009 Aug 27;63(4):523-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.07.029.


The capacity to perceive depth is critical for an observer to interact with his or her surroundings. During observer movement, information about depth can be extracted from the resulting patterns of image motion on the retina (motion parallax). Without extraretinal signals related to observer movement, however, depth-sign (near versus far) from motion parallax can be ambiguous. We previously demonstrated that MT neurons combine visual motion with extraretinal signals to code depth-sign from motion parallax in the absence of other depth cues. In that study, head translations were always accompanied by compensatory tracking eye movements, allowing at least two potential sources of extraretinal input. We now show that smooth eye movement signals provide the critical extraretinal input to MT neurons for computing depth-sign from motion parallax. Our findings demonstrate a powerful modulation of MT activity by eye movements, as predicted by human studies of depth perception from motion parallax.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*