NEUROSCIENCE: More to Motion Processing

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Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 959c
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.959c

The detection and interpretation of movement in the environment can be crucial for the survival of the individual. It is thus no surprise that a large number of neurons in different areas of the visual system participate in motion analysis. Most studies have used electrophysiological techniques to characterize the response properties of single neurons. Less is known, however, about the behavior of large groups or networks of neurons involved in motion perception.

Using functional brain imaging, Tolias et al. studied the visual cortex of macaque monkeys with a visual adaptation paradigm designed to reveal the participation of neuronal populations. In agreement with earlier data, they found that a network of areas in the visual system is involved in the processing of information about stimulus movements. Their results concerning the relative participation of areas differed, however, from what one would have predicted from single neuron electrophysiology. To account for this difference, the authors suggest that neuronal selectivity may be a function of adaptation and that the change of neuronal specificity in early visual areas may reflect the adaptation of higher-level visual areas that project to the earlier areas via feedback connections.—PRS

J. Neurosci. 21, 8594 (2001).

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