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Motion and shape perception in cerebral akinetopsia

Matthew Rizzo, Mark Nawrot, Josef Zihl
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/118.5.1105 1105-1127 First published online: 1 October 1995


Summary Motion cues serve many purposes in primate vision. Consequently, akinetopsia, a defect of movement perception due to cerebral lesions, would be expected to comprise a range of motion-related defects. To address this issue we explored further the perceptual profiles in akinetopsic subject L.M. who has motion perception deficits due to extensive bilateral lesions of the dorsolateral visual association cortex that spare primary visual cortex, area VI. We used several different experimental procedures. Using random-dot motion stimuli, we showed that L.M. can still perceive global coherent motion and discriminate motion direction, yet these abilities fail even at moderate levels of background noise. L.M. also viewed a two-frame apparent (phi) motion stimulus known as a Ternus display. Her performance on this test suggests defective ‘long-range’ apparent motion mechanisms. These results are clearly in agreement with previous reports. Additional experiments showed that L.M. can still perceive 2-D shape and 3-D structure-from-motion (SFM). However, like motion direction discrimination, these abilities broke down at moderate levels of moving and stationary noise. Surprisingly, L.M. also had trouble perceiving 2-D shapes defined by non-motion signals including ‘on’ and ‘off’ transients, dynamic and static binocular disparity, and static texture cues. Our findings highlight the role of the visual association cortex in extracting salient information from noise.

  • akinetopsia
  • area MT (V5)
  • form-from-motion
  • motion perception
  • structure-from-motion
  • visual cortex

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