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Keywords:

  • cat;
  • directionality;
  • optic flow mode selectivity;
  • radiation;
  • rotation

Abstract

The processing of optic flow information has been extensively investigated in the medial superior temporal area (MST) of the macaque. In the cat, the posteromedial area and the posterolateral area in the lateral suprasylvian cortex (PMLS and PLLS, respectively) have been suggested as likely participants according to their direction preferences to moving objects. In the present study, 203 PMLS and 123 PLLS neurons were tested with simulated optic flow patterns composed of random dots (including expansion and contraction, clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation, and translation) and moving bar stimuli. About 90% of the neurons were found to be excited by the optic flow stimuli and most of them were multiple-responsive to different flow patterns. Only 20–25% of the cells were selective to different optic flow modes, and in general, the direction preference was fairly modest. The selective cells showed stronger directionality to both flow field and moving bar than nonselective cells. However, the optic flow response properties in the PMLS and PLLS were not well correlated with the direction preference to moving bars. In accordance with previous findings, the PMLS was analogous to the middle temporal area of the macaque in many respects. As for the PLLS cells, they were sensitive to fewer types of stimuli, but responded better and more selectively to radial motion. All these results suggest that the two lateral suprasylvian areas are unlikely to be specialized for the analysis or discrimination of different flow patterns, but may play some kind of relay role in optic flow information processing.