Binocular disparity tuning and visual-vestibular congruency of multisensory neurons in macaque parietal cortex

Yun Yang, Sheng Liu, Syed A. Chowdhury, Gregory C. DeAngelis, Dora E. Angelaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many neurons in the dorsal medial superior temporal (MSTd) and ventral intraparietal (VIP) areas of the macaque brain are multisen-sory, responding to both optic flow and vestibularcues to self-motion. Theheading uning of visual and vestibularresponses can be either congruent or opposite, but only congruent cells have been implicated in cue integration for heading perception. Becauseof the geometric properties of motion parallax, however, both congruent and opposite cells could be involved incoding self-motion when observers fixate a world-fixed target during translation, if congruent cells prefer near disparities and opposite cells prefer far disparities. We characterized the binocular disparity selectivity and heading tuning of MSTd and VIP cells using random-dot stimuli. Most (70%) MSTd neurons were disparity selective with monotonic tuning, and there was no consistent relationship between depth preference and congruency of visual and vestibular heading tuning. One-third of disparity-selective MSTd cells reversed their depth preference for opposite directions of motion [direction-dependent disparity tuning (DDD)], but most of these cells were unisensory with no tuning for vestibular stimuli. Inconsistent with previous reports, the direction preferences of most DDD neurons do not reverse with disparity. By comparison to MSTd, VIP contains fewer disparity-selective neurons (41%) and very few DDD cells. On average, VIP neurons also preferred higher speeds and nearer disparities than MSTd cells. Our findings are inconsistent with the hypothesis that visual/vestibular congruency is linked to depth preference, and also suggest that DDD cells are not involved in multisensory integration for heading perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17905-17916
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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