Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience

How the brain makes up the world: the example of Apparent Motion

Apparent Motion refers to the illusory perception of a moving token when two spatially separated visual stimuli are flashed in rapid succession. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the neural signal in early visual cortices related to apparent motion is very similar to the neural signal elicited by real motion and correlates with the conscious perception of a moving token. It is hypothesised that the neural signal with which the brain “makes up” a moving token is generated by a predictive mechanism sending signals from motion sensitive brain areas to early visual areas. I will present data showing that this predictive signal is spatio-temporally specific to the perceived moving token and can be modulated by magnetic stimulation of the motion sensitive brain area. Apparent motion can thus be used as a model to study how a mechanism of visual prediction may be implemented in the brain. I will discuss some of the implications of such a predictive brain mechanism.