Neural bases of self- and object-motion in a naturalistic vision

Sabrina Pitzalis, Chiara Serra, Valentina Sulpizio, Giorgia Committeri, Francesco de Pasquale, Patrizia Fattori, Claudio Galletti, Rosamaria Sepe, Gaspare Galati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To plan movements toward objects our brain must recognize whether retinal displacement is due to self-motion and/or to object-motion. Here, we aimed to test whether motion areas are able to segregate these types of motion. We combined an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, brain mapping techniques, and wide-field stimulation to study the responsivity of motion-sensitive areas to pure and combined self- and object-motion conditions during virtual movies of a train running within a realistic landscape. We observed a selective response in MT to the pure object-motion condition, and in medial (PEc, pCi, CSv, and CMA) and lateral (PIC and LOR) areas to the pure self-motion condition. Some other regions (like V6) responded more to complex visual stimulation where both object- and self-motion were present. Among all, we found that some motion regions (V3A, LOR, MT, V6, and IPSmot) could extract object-motion information from the overall motion, recognizing the real movement of the train even when the images remain still (on the screen), or moved, because of self-movements. We propose that these motion areas might be good candidates for the “flow parsing mechanism,” that is the capability to extract object-motion information from retinal motion signals by subtracting out the optic flow components.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • area V6
  • brain mapping
  • flow parsing
  • fMRI
  • optic flow
  • wide-field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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