Friday, March 9, 2007

Adaptive Surround Modulation in Cortical Area MT

Xin Huang, Thomas D. Albright, Gene R. Stoner
Neuron, Vol 53, 761-770, 01 March 2007

Visual motion perception relies on two opposing operations: integration and segmentation. Integration overcomes motion ambiguity in the visual image by spatial pooling of motion signals, whereas segmentation identifies differences between adjacent moving objects. For visual motion area MT, previous investigations have reported that stimuli in the receptive field surround, which do not elicit a response when presented alone, can nevertheless modulate responses to stimuli in the receptive field center. The directional tuning of this “surround modulation” has been found to be mainly antagonistic and hence consistent with segmentation. Here, we report that surround modulation in area MT can be either antagonistic or integrative depending upon the visual stimulus. Both types of modulation were delayed relative to response onset. Our results suggest that the dominance of antagonistic modulation in previous MT studies was due to stimulus choice and that segmentation and integration are achieved, in part, via adaptive surround modulation.


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