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Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 12, pp 3375–3390 | Cite as

The role of cortical areas hMT/V5+ and TPJ on the magnitude of representational momentum and representational gravity: a transcranial magnetic stimulation study

  • Nuno Alexandre De Sá TeixeiraEmail author
  • Gianfranco Bosco
  • Sergio Delle Monache
  • Francesco Lacquaniti
Research Article
  • 46 Downloads

Abstract

The perceived vanishing location of a moving target is systematically displaced forward, in the direction of motion—representational momentum—, and downward, in the direction of gravity—representational gravity. Despite a wealth of research on the factors that modulate these phenomena, little is known regarding their neurophysiological substrates. The present experiment aims to explore which role is played by cortical areas hMT/V5+, linked to the processing of visual motion, and TPJ, thought to support the functioning of an internal model of gravity, in modulating both effects. Participants were required to perform a standard spatial localization task while the activity of the right hMT/V5+ or TPJ sites was selectively disrupted with an offline continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) protocol, interspersed with control blocks with no stimulation. Eye movements were recorded during all spatial localizations. Results revealed an increase in representational gravity contingent on the disruption of the activity of hMT/V5+ and, conversely, some evidence suggested a bigger representational momentum when TPJ was stimulated. Furthermore, stimulation of hMT/V5+ led to a decreased ocular overshoot and to a time-dependent downward drift of gaze location. These outcomes suggest that a reciprocal balance between perceived kinematics and anticipated dynamics might modulate these spatial localization responses, compatible with a push–pull mechanism.

Keywords

Representational momentum Representational gravity Medio-temporal area Temporo-parietal junction Theta-burst stimulation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Italian Space Agency (grants I/006/06/0 and MARS-PRE) and the Italian University Ministry (PRIN grants 2015HFWRYY_002, 2017KZNZLN_003 and 2017CBF8NJ_005).

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Systems Medicine and Centre of Space BiomedicineUniversity of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’RomeItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Neuromotor PhysiologyIRCCS Santa Lucia FoundationRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Education and Psychology, William James Research CenterUniversity of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de SantiagoAveiroPortugal

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