Vision fMRI Journal Club

Motion-Dependent Representation of Space in Area MT+. Authors: Maus, G.A., Fischer J., & Whitney, D. (2013).

How is visual space represented in cortical area MT+? At a relatively coarse scale, the organization of MT+ is debated; retinotopic, spatiotopic, or mixed representations have all been proposed. However, none of these representations entirely explain the perceptual localization of objects at a fine spatial scale—a scale relevant for tasks like navigating or manipulating objects. For example, perceived positions of objects are strongly modulated by visual motion; stationary flashes appear shifted in the direction of nearby motion. Does spatial coding in MT+ reflect these shifts in perceived position? We performed an fMRI experiment employing this ‘‘flash-drag’’ effect and found that flashes presented near motion produced patterns of activity similar to physically shifted flashes in the absence of motion. This reveals a motion-dependent change in the neural representation of object position in human MT+, a process that could help compensate for perceptual and motor delays in localizing objects in dynamic scenes.