Research Topic

Visual motion perception and its neural correlates

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We critically rely on our visual motion perception for almost all aspects of our daily function. But visual motion perception is multifaceted, involving basic processes as detecting some change across the visual field, as well as more complex processes such as using the optic flow to guide our way in the ...

We critically rely on our visual motion perception for almost all aspects of our daily function. But visual motion perception is multifaceted, involving basic processes as detecting some change across the visual field, as well as more complex processes such as using the optic flow to guide our way in the environment, segmenting the scene into separate structures according to their different motions, recognizing structure from motion, reading and understanding facial expressions, body language, and social interactions. Failures to track motion precisely can also have several adverse consequences, even leading to nausea during a car ride.

Due to its indisputable relevance to biological organisms and its complexity and diversity, research examining visual motion spans across many species (from fly to human) and across many methods. Together, these studies have helped to elucidate some of the critical mechanisms contributing to visual motion perception. For example LM, the akinetopsic “motion blind” patient, lacks the qualia of visual motion perception, while other aspects of her visual perception are rather spared; conversely, blindsight patients may retain the qualia of visual motion but do not perceive what has moved. These and additional neuropsychological case studies provide insights into the mechanisms supporting visual motion perception and critically visual motion qualia. Neuroimaging studies in primates and in humans using optical imaging, fMRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation and other methods enable us to further understand which brain regions are involved in different aspects of visual motion perception and to appreciate the similarities and distinctions between the different species with respect to visual motion perception. Lesion and electrophysiological studies in primates provide converging evidence for the brain regions critically involved in visual motion perception. Developmental studies of neurotypical and atypical populations can reveal how different perceptual or brain functions depend and interact with visual motion perception. Behavioural studies of visual motion perception can both shed light on the psychological mechanisms supporting visual motion perception and can offer evidence that constrains model-based theoretical approaches. The findings from these different approaches synergistically interact to shed light on the functional and neural bases of visual motion perception.

In recognition of the multidisciplinary approach to this scientific domain, in this Research Topic, which will cover visual motion perception and its underlying neural basis, we wish to ensemble researchers from a diversity of fields investigating visual motion perception. The Research Topic will provide an up-to-date view of the current research from different perspectives, original research in the field as well as theoretical viewpoints, identifying the key outstanding questions in the field, and a consideration of the important directions to be investigated in the future.


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