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Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive Spatial Reference Frames of Visual, Vestibular, and
 

Summary: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
Spatial Reference Frames of Visual, Vestibular, and
Multimodal Heading Signals in the Dorsal Subdivision of the
Medial Superior Temporal Area
Christopher R. Fetsch, Sentao Wang, Yong Gu, Gregory C. DeAngelis,* and Dora E. Angelaki*
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110
Heading perception is a complex task that generally requires the integration of visual and vestibular cues. This sensory integration is
complicated by the fact that these two modalities encode motion in distinct spatial reference frames (visual, eye-centered; vestibular,
head-centered). Visual and vestibular heading signals converge in the primate dorsal subdivision of the medial superior temporal area
(MSTd), a region thought to contribute to heading perception, but the reference frames of these signals remain unknown. We measured
the heading tuning of MSTd neurons by presenting optic flow (visual condition), inertial motion (vestibular condition), or a congruent
combination of both cues (combined condition). Static eye position was varied from trial to trial to determine the reference frame of
tuning (eye-centered, head-centered, or intermediate). We found that tuning for optic flow was predominantly eye-centered, whereas
tuning for inertial motion was intermediate but closer to head-centered. Reference frames in the two unimodal conditions were rarely
matched in single neurons and uncorrelated across the population. Notably, reference frames in the combined condition varied as a
function of the relative strength and spatial congruency of visual and vestibular tuning. This represents the first investigation of spatial
referenceframesinanaturalistic,multimodalconditioninwhichcuesmaybeintegratedtoimproveperceptualperformance.Ourresults
compare favorably with the predictions of a recent neural network model that uses a recurrent architecture to perform optimal cue
integration,suggestingthatthebraincoulduseasimilarcomputationalstrategytointegratesensorysignalsexpressedindistinctframes
of reference.

  

Source: Angelaki, Dora - Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis
DeAngelis, Gregory - Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine