Physiological models of visual motion processing posit that 'pattern-motion cells' represent the direction of moving objects independent of their particular spatial pattern. We performed fMRI experiments to identify neuronal activity in the human brain selective for pattern motion. A protocol using adaptation to moving 'plaid' stimuli allowed us to separate pattern-motion responses from other types of motion-related activity within the same brain structures, and revealed strong pattern-motion selectivity in human visual area MT+. Reducing the perceptual coherence of the plaids yielded a corresponding decrease in pattern-motion responsivity, providing evidence that percepts of coherent motion are closely linked to the activity of pattern-motion cells in human MT+.
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