Abstract

We examined the effect of bilateral ibotenic acid lesions, aimed at areas MT/MST in three macaques, on their perception of motion. The medial boundary of the lesions in the three monkeys was near the dorsal end of the STS, but the lesions extended different lengths ventralty along the STS. The lesions extended the shortest distance ventrally in monkeys 1 and 2, covering most of MST but possibly sparing a portion of lateral MT. That in monkey 3 damaged all of MT and MST bilaterally and extended through most of FST. All three lesions caused a temporary disruption, followed by at least partial recovery, of most motion thresholds. Permanent effects of the lesions on visual sensitivity were graded with lesion extent. Contrast sensitivity for detecting low-spatial-frequency (1 cycle/degree) drifting gratings over a wide range of drift rates, as well as for identifying their direction of motion, was slightly affected only in monkey 3. Only monkeys 2 and 3 showed a deficit in discriminating stimulus speed, and the size of the loss was two- to fourfold. Discrimination of opposite directions of dot pattern motion, which required integration of local motion signals, was mildly affected in monkeys 2 and 3, and not affected in monkey 1. However, addition of directional noise to this discrimination caused the performance of all monkeys to be permanently disrupted, especially that of monkeys 2 and 3. Finally, direction difference thresholds were elevated by a factor of 2–4 after the lesions in all three monkeys. Many of these deficits were more pronounced during the first 2 months of testing following the lesion.

Thus, our results demonstrate that areas within dorsal STS make an important contribution to the performance of various motion perception tasks including the discrimination of small differences in direction and speed, and the perception of global motion in the presence of directional noise. The residual motion perception, even in the monkey with virtually complete removal of areas MT/MST, may suggest either that these tasks are normally mediated in part by cortical areas outside of areas MT and MST, or that the disrupted functions were partially assumed by other cortical areas after lesions.

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