The middle temporal visual area in the macaque: myeloarchitecture, connections, functional properties and topographic organization

J Comp Neurol. 1981 Jul 1;199(3):293-326. doi: 10.1002/cne.901990302.


The location, topographic organization, and function of the middle temporal visual area (MT) in the macaque monkey was studied using anatomical and physiological techniques. MT is a small, elliptically shaped area on the posterior bank of the superior temporal sulcus which can be identified by its direct inputs from striate cortex and by its distinctive pattern of heavy myelination. Its average surface area is 33 mm2, which is less than 3% of the size of striate cortex. It contains a complete, topographically organized representation of the contralateral visual hemifield. There are substantial irregularities in the detailed pattern of topographic organization, however, and the representation is significantly more complex than that found for MT in other primates. Much of MT is devoted to the representation of central visual fields, with the emphasis on central vision being similar to that found in striate cortex. Electrophysiological recordings have confirmed previous reports of a high incidence of direction selective cells in MT. The transition in functional properties, from cells lacking direction selectivity outside MT to direction selective cells within, occurs over a distance of 0.1-0.2 mm or less along the lateral border of MT. Such a transition does not occur along the medial border, however, as the cortex medial to MT contains many cells with strong direction selectivity. Nevertheless, this region differs from MT in its myeloarchitecture, its lack of inputs from striate cortex, and the large size of its receptive fields. These results demonstrate the existence of three distinct visual areas on the posterior bank of the superior temporal sulcus which can be distinguished on the basis of both physiological and anatomical criteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology