Journal article

Direction-specific motion blindness induced by focal stimulation of human extrastriate cortex

Motion blindness (MB) or akinetopsia is the selective disturbance of visual motion perception while other features of the visual scene such as colour and shape are normally perceived. Chronic and transient forms of MB are characterized by a global deficit of direction discrimination (pandirectional), which is generally assumed to result from damage to, or interference with, the motion complex MT+/V5. However, the most characteristic feature of primate MT-neurons is not their motion specificity, but their preference for one direction of motion (direction specificity). Here, we report that focal electrical stimulation in the human posterior temporal lobe selectively impaired the perception of motion in one direction while the perception of motion in other directions was completely normal (unidirectional MB). In addition, the direction of MB was found to depend on the brain area stimulated. It is argued that direction specificity for visual motion is not only represented at the single neuron level, but also in much larger cortical units.

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