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Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive Visual and Nonvisual Contributions to Three-Dimensional
 

Summary: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
Visual and Nonvisual Contributions to Three-Dimensional
Heading Selectivity in the Medial Superior Temporal Area
Yong Gu, Paul V. Watkins, Dora E. Angelaki,* and Gregory C. DeAngelis*
Departments of Neurobiology and Biomedical Engineering, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110
Robust perception of self-motion requires integration of visual motion signals with nonvisual cues. Neurons in the dorsal subdivision of
themedialsuperiortemporalarea(MSTd)maybeinvolvedinthissensoryintegration,becausetheyrespondselectivelytoglobalpatterns
ofopticflow,aswellastranslationalmotionindarkness.Usingavirtual-realitysystem,wehavecharacterizedthethree-dimensional(3D)
tuning of MSTd neurons to heading directions defined by optic flow alone, inertial motion alone, and congruent combinations of the two
cues. Among 255 MSTd neurons, 98% exhibited significant 3D heading tuning in response to optic flow, whereas 64% were selective for
heading defined by inertial motion. Heading preferences for visual and inertial motion could be aligned but were just as frequently
opposite. Moreover, heading selectivity in response to congruent visual/vestibular stimulation was typically weaker than that obtained
using optic flow alone, and heading preferences under congruent stimulation were dominated by the visual input. Thus, MSTd neurons
generally did not integrate visual and nonvisual cues to achieve better heading selectivity. A simple two-layer neural network, which
received eye-centered visual inputs and head-centered vestibular inputs, reproduced the major features of the MSTd data. The network
was trained to compute heading in a head-centered reference frame under all stimulus conditions, such that it performed a selective
reference-frame transformation of visual, but not vestibular, signals. The similarity between network hidden units and MSTd neurons
suggeststhatMSTdmaybeanearlystageofsensoryconvergenceinvolvedintransformingopticflowinformationintoa(head-centered)
reference frame that facilitates integration with vestibular signals.
Key words: monkey; MST; optic flow; heading; visual; vestibular

  

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