Abstract

The perception of changes in the direction of objects that translate in space is an important function of our visual system. Here we investigate the brain electrical phenomena underlying such a function by using a combination of magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetic resonance imaging. We recorded MEG-evoked responses in 9 healthy human subjects while they discriminated the direction of a transient change in a translationally moving random dot pattern presented either to the right or to the left of a central fixation point. We found that responses reached their maximum in 2 main regions corresponding to motion processing area middle temporal (MT)/V5 contralateral to the stimulated visual field, and to the right inferior parietal lobe (rIPL). The activation latencies were very similar in both regions (∼135 ms) following the direction change onset. Our findings suggest that area MT/V5 provides the strongest sensory signal in response to changes in the direction of translational motion, whereas area rIPL may be involved either in the sensory processing of transient motion signals or in the processing of signals related to orienting of attention.

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