Images of Illusory Motion in Primary Visual Cortex

ArticleinJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18(7):1174-80 · August 2006with11 Reads
Impact Factor: 4.09 · DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2006.18.7.1174 · Source: PubMed


    Illusory motion can be generated by successively flashing a stationary visual stimulus in two spatial locations separated by several degrees of visual angle. In appropriate conditions, the apparent motion is indistinguishable from real motion: The observer experiences a luminous object traversing a continuous path from one stimulus location to the other through intervening positions where no physical stimuli exist. The phenomenon has been extensively investigated for nearly a century but little is known about its neurophysiological foundation. Here we present images of activations in the primary visual cortex in response to real and apparent motion. The images show that during apparent motion, a path connecting the cortical representations of the stimulus locations is filled in by activation. The activation along the path of apparent motion is similar to the activation found when a stimulus is presented in real motion between the two locations.