The analysis of complex motion patterns by form/cue invariant MSTd neurons

J Neurosci. 1996 Aug 1;16(15):4716-32. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-15-04716.1996.


Several groups have proposed that area MSTd of the macaque monkey has a role in processing optical flow information used in the analysis of self motion, based on its neurons' selectivity for large-field motion patterns such as expansion, contraction, and rotation. It has also been suggested that this cortical region may be important in analyzing the complex motions of objects. More generally, MSTd could be involved in the generic function of complex motion pattern representation, with its cells responsible for integrating local motion signals sent forward from area MT into a more unified representation. If MSTd is extracting generic motion pattern signals, it would be important that the preferred tuning of MSTd neurons not depend on the particular features and cues that allow these motions to be represented. To test this idea, we examined the diversity of stimulus features and cues over which MSTd cells can extract information about motion patterns such as expansion, contraction, rotation, and spirals. The different classes of stimuli included: coherently moving random dot patterns, solid squares, outlines of squares, a square aperture moving in front of an underlying stationary pattern of random dots, a square composed entirely of flicker, and a square of nonFourier motion. When a unit was tuned with respect to motion pattern producing the most vigorous response in a neuron was nearly the same for each class. Although preferred tuning was invariant, the magnitude and width of the tuning curves often varied between classes. Thus, MSTd is form/cue invariant for complex motions, making it an appropriate candidate for analysis of object motion as well as motion introduced by observer translation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Motion*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*