Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 10, pp 2729–2734 | Cite as

Associations between genetic variations and global motion perception

  • Marina KunchuliaEmail author
  • Nato Kotaria
  • Karin Pilz
  • Adam Kotorashvili
  • Michael H. Herzog
Research Article


The cholinergic system is known to strongly modulate perceptual and cognitive processes, and the alpha7 subunit of the cholinergic nicotinic receptor (CHRNA7) is broadly expressed within the visual system. Here, we assessed whether genetic variations of CHRNA7 affect coherent motion perception. Motion perception has been shown to decline with age, and it has previously been suggested that the effects of genetic variations are magnified by age. Therefore, we tested both older (n = 62) and younger adults (n = 63). We found that motion coherence thresholds were significantly higher for older compared to younger adults, which is in accordance with previous studies. Interestingly, there was a strong relationship between variants of the SNP rs2337980 of the CHRNA7 and motion direction discrimination. In particular, participants carrying the TC genotype had considerably lower motion coherence thresholds than CC carriers. The effect of genotype did not interact with age. Our results show that genetic variations are associated with perceptual performance, but are unlikely to explain age-related changes.


Coherent motion Genetic variations Cholinergic system CHRNA7 Aging 



This work was supported by the Velux Foundation and by the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) SYNAPSY of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). Nato Kotaria was supported by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation funded Grant for Young Scientist, Project no. 52/53.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cognitive NeurosciencesFree University of TbilisiTbilisiGeorgia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Vision PhysiologyIvane Beritashvili Center of Experimental BiomedicineTbilisiGeorgia
  3. 3.Genome CenterNational Center for Disease Control and Public HealthTbilisiGeorgia
  4. 4.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind InstituteEcole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland

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