• adaptation;
  • human;
  • motion vision;
  • speed tuning;
  • visual evoked potentials


Human psychophysical and electrophysiological evidence suggests at least two separate visual motion pathways, one tuned to a lower and one tuned to a broader and partly overlapping range of higher speeds. It remains unclear whether these two different channels are represented by different cortical areas or by sub-populations within a single area. We recorded evoked potentials at 59 scalp locations to the onset of a slow (3.5°/s) and fast (32°/s) moving test pattern, preceded by either a slow or fast adapting pattern that moved in either the same direction or opposite to the test motion. Baseline potentials were recorded for slow and fast moving test patterns after adaptation to a static pattern. Comparison of adapted responses with baseline responses revealed that the N2 peak around 180 ms after test stimulus onset was modulated by the preceding adaptation. This modulation depended on both direction and speed. Source localization of baseline potentials as well as direction-independent motion adaptation revealed cortical areas activated by fast motion to be more dorsal, medial and posterior compared with neural structures underlying slow motion processing. For both speeds, the direction-dependent component of this adaptation modulation occurred in the same area, located significantly more dorsally compared with neural structures that were adapted in a direction-independent manner. These results demonstrate for the first time the cortical separation of more ventral areas selectively activated by visual motion at low speeds (and not high speeds) and dorsal motion-sensitive cortical areas that are activated by both high and low speeds.