Testing neuronal accounts of anisotropic motion perception with computational modelling

William Wong, Nicholas S C Price

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There is an over-representation of neurons in early visual cortical areas that respond most strongly to cardinal (horizontal and vertical) orientations and directions of visual stimuli, and cardinal- and oblique-preferring neurons are reported to have different tuning curves. Collectively, these neuronal anisotropies can explain two commonly-reported phenomena of motion perception - the oblique effect and reference repulsion - but it remains unclear whether neuronal anisotropies can simultaneously account for both perceptual effects. We show in psychophysical experiments that reference repulsion and the oblique effect do not depend on the duration of a moving stimulus, and that brief adaptation to a single direction simultaneously causes a reference repulsion in the orientation domain, and the inverse of the oblique effect in the direction domain. We attempted to link these results to underlying neuronal anisotropies by implementing a large family of neuronal decoding models with parametrically varied levels of anisotropy in neuronal direction-tuning preferences, tuning bandwidths and spiking rates. Surprisingly, no model instantiation was able to satisfactorily explain our perceptual data. We argue that the oblique effect arises from the anisotropic distribution of preferred directions evident in V1 and MT, but that reference repulsion occurs separately, perhaps reflecting a process of categorisation occurring in higher-order cortical areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere113061
Pages (from-to)1 - 15
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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