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Brain Topography

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 247–263 | Cite as

Processing of Coherent Visual Motion in Topographically Organized Visual Areas in Human Cerebral Cortex

  • Randolph F. Helfrich
  • Hubertus G.T. Becker
  • Thomas HaarmeierEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Recent imaging studies in human subjects have demonstrated representations of global visual motion in medial parieto-occipital cortex (area V6) and posterior parietal cortex, the latter containing at least seven topographically organized areas along the intraparietal sulcus (IPS0–IPS5, SPL1). In this fMRI study we used topographic mapping procedures to delineate a total of 18 visual areas in human cerebral cortex and tested their responsiveness to coherent visual motion under conditions of controlled attention and fixation. Preferences for coherent visual motion as compared to motion noise as well as hemispheric asymmetries were assessed for contralateral, ipsilateral, and bilateral visual motion presentations. Except for areas V1–V4 and IPS3-5, all other areas showed stronger responses to coherent motion with the most significant activations found in V6, followed by MT/MST, V3A, IPS0-2 and SPL1. Hemispheric differences were negligible altogether suggesting that asymmetries in parietal cortex observed in cognitive tasks do not reflect differences in basic visual response properties. Interestingly, areas V6, MST, V3A, and areas along the intraparietal sulcus showed specific representations of coherent visual motion not only when presented in the hemifield primarily covered by the given visual representation but also when presented in the ipsilateral visual field. This finding suggests that coherent motion induces a switch in spatial representation in specialized motion areas from contralateral to full-field coding.

Keywords

fMRI Visual motion processing V6 MST Intraparietal sulcus Hemispheric asymmetries 

Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

BOLD

blood oxygen level-dependent

EPI

Echo planar imaging

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

IPS

Intraparietal sulcus

LOS/LOC

Lateral occipital sulcus/complex

MST

Medial superior temporal area

MT

Middle temporal area

MT+ complex

Middle temporal complex

pITS

Posterior part of the inferior temporal sulcus

POIPS

Parieto-occipital intraparietal sulcus

PSC

Percent signal change

ROI

Region of interest

SPL

Superior parietal lobe

TOS

Transverse occipital sulcus

VIP

Ventral intraparietal area

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Rüdiger Berndt and especially Dr. Friedemann Bunjes for their technical assistance. We thank M.B. Wall for his initial remarks on the retinotopic mapping analysis.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randolph F. Helfrich
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hubertus G.T. Becker
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thomas Haarmeier
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive Neurology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain ResearchUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of General Neurology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain ResearchUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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