Several fMRI studies have reported MT+ response increases correlated with perception of the motion aftereffect (MAE). However, attention can strongly affect MT+ responses, and subjects may naturally attend more to the MAE than control trials without MAE. We found that requiring subjects to attend to motion on both MAE and control trials produced equal levels of MT+ response, suggesting that attention may have confounded the interpretation of previous experiments; in our data, attention accounts for the entire effect. After eliminating this confound, we observed that direction-selective motion adaptation produced a direction-selective imbalance in MT+ responses (and earlier visual areas), and yielded a corresponding asymmetry in speed discrimination thresholds. These findings provide physiological evidence that population level response imbalances underlie the MAE, and quantify the relative proportions of direction-selective neurons across human visual areas.
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