Does the Middle Temporal Area Carry Vestibular Signals
Related to Self-Motion?
Syed A. Chowdhury,1 Katsumasa Takahashi,1 Gregory C. DeAngelis,2* and Dora E. Angelaki1*
1Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, and 2Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences,
Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, New York 14627
Recent studies have described vestibular responses in the dorsal medial superior temporal area (MSTd), a region of extrastriate visual
cortex thought to be involved in self-motion perception. The pathways by which vestibular signals are conveyed to area MSTd are
currently unclear, and one possibility is that vestibular signals are already present in areas that are known to provide visual inputs to
MSTd. Thus, we examined whether selective vestibular responses are exhibited by single neurons in the middle temporal area (MT), a
visual motion-sensitive region that projects heavily to area MSTd. We compared responses in MT and MSTd to three-dimensional
rotational and translational stimuli that were either presented using a motion platform (vestibular condition) or simulated using optic
significant tuning during the vestibular rotation condition. However, when the fixation target was generated by a laser in a dark room,
in the vestibular rotation condition can be explained by retinal slip due to a residual vestibulo-ocular reflex. Thus, the robust vestibular
signals observed in area MSTd do not arise through inputs from area MT.
Self-motion perception relies heavily on both visual motion (op-